Deputy Mayor of Cork Cllr Colm Kelleher, Minister of Agriculture Michael Creed TD, Distinguished Guests, Fellow Committee Members, Volunteers, Ladies and Gentlemen. 
Before I begin I would like to welcome each and everyone of you here tonight to what is our first Awards Ceremony as part of Cork City.
Our Mission
It is an historic time for our community and for the history of Cork. And although there will be many changes, Ballincollig Tidy Towns will continue to do what it always does working to improve the community tackling projects and  
Tonight, we not only celebrate our own Awards, we also celebrate the success of Ballincollig in the SuperValu National Tidy Towns Competition. Two years ago we were in the Top 20 in Ireland. This year we are in the Top 10, two solitary points behind  the overall winner Glaslough Co Monaghan. Ballincollig also had the highest mark in our category and also won the overall County Award.  Out of 918 entries that is an incredible achievement. 
An achievement that we as a community can be very proud of.  
Going to the Helix and listening to the various awards being announced is nerve wrecking.
When I heard the Regional Winner was Ennis I knew that they had done better than us and that there would be a road trip in November. One of these days that road trip will be in this direction.
All Summer long we listened to GAA Pundits commenting on how great the Dublin Footballers were achieving 5 in a Row. I was wondering what all the fuss was about as we did that three years ago. When they have done 8 in a row like Ballincollig come talk to us !!
We are so proud of our 8th Gold Medal. Each medal brings as much pride and joy as the one before. We can never afford to take these for granted as the competition gets stiffer each year. The bar keeps raising and Ballincollig Tidy Towns is only too aware of the work it needs to keep at gold level.  
Seeing Ballincollig on the Big Screen as one of the shortlisted Large Urban Towns is a very proud moment and one which we as a community can take great pride in 
I have been asked many times if I was disappointed that we lost by two points. My answer was always the same. No. No because it gives us something as a community to keep striving for. Glaslough last won the National Title in 1978 and have been knocking on the door for a while now and they are very deserving winners. 
We never set out each year to Win. From year to year, we work to at least maintain what we have achieved and also try to improve on it. 
This, I am happy to say, we have done. The Linear Graph shows how this progression over the years.
Our committee continually strives to find ways to improve.
That said, the one thing that did disappoint each and every member of BTT was that despite all our work edging kerbs, one of the main things that affected our results was the use of weed-killer. This was done by the Local Authority and by various estates throughout Ballincollig.  I have to say this is both demoralising and unnecessary. Demoralising because all the hard work edging and not spraying in order to help the environment was undone by spraying pesticides. Unnecessary because as the picture shows with a little bit of thought and perhaps more than a little perspiration, we would not have to look at horrible yellow lines along green areas reminding us of how we are harming our environment.
The two photos show you the contrast and you must ask yourself…do I want to use harmful sprays around my community or am I willing to make a difference by choosing an alternative.
Ballincollig Tidy Towns is asking the entire community to get behind it and work to eliminate the use of weed killers that are causing untold damage to our environment not only for this generation but for future generations. 
We are asking everyone here tonight to support us in making Ballincollig a ‘spray free’ town going forward. We are asking for the use of weed killers to be stopped immediately. We are moving to have it banned and to educate the community to use alternatives. Our Website  will run a series of informative blogs and the Biodiversity page will continue to show how other countries have banned the use of these substances and how they have found alternatives. The positive results are evident.
The constant support we receive from various members of Ballincollig community allows us to improve year on year and for this we are extremely grateful. 
In this regard I want to thank our key sponsors, Quish’s  Supervalu Main Street, Quish’s Supervalu West Village, Ballincollig Credit Union, Castlewest Cork, VM Wear, O’Neill Sand & Gravel, Ballincollig Tool Hire, The Oriel House Hotel, Ballincollig Business Association and the other 119 businesses, schools and organisations who have supported our 2019 Window Sticker Campaign this is up 23 on 2018.
Check out our Website for a full list of those who Sponsored us
Without the very generous support of these organisations, BTT would not be able to sustain the level of activity that it does 52 weeks of the year. All this support is much appreciated, and we would encourage people to support our sponsors and the businesses within our Community, whenever possible. 
It is all about Working Together and Buying into the Tidy Towns ethos for the betterment of our community.
We are deeply indebted to the funding from Cork County Council through their Community Contract initiative and are thankful for the commitment from City Council that any funding received in the past will be retained. 
Speaking of Funding: Don’t forget to get a raffle ticket for the draw later!!
On behalf of BTT, I would like to thank the Residents’ Associations for their continued efforts throughout the year. 
A big thank you must go to Janice O’Connell General Manager of the Oriel House Hotel and her wonderful team who look after us every Sunday morning and during our monthly committee meetings. This Sunday morning cuppa after the Weekly Litter Pick is probably the most important part of the litter pick. 
I want to pay tribute to our local Council staff in the Ballincollig Council Area Office also to Jack Casey and his crew in the Regional Park and the Anti-Litter Unit and Traffic.
Speaking of Council, we must mention the wonderful Regional Park
We are so fortunate to have such an incredible amenity on our doorstep, something that is out of the reach of so many communities. Cork County Council must be commended for their foresight and commitment to the park and it was lovely to recently hear a Senior City Council Official endorse and confirm City Council’s commitment to the park. Something new catches the eye every time you visit the park.
During the year we undertook numerous projects both directly and in conjunction with others. Each project added to the enhancement of Ballincollig. However, with new projects comes extra maintenance and an increased workload.
All these projects can be found on our website
And what about Poulavone Roundabout. Griffins Garden Centre have shown their commitment to our community and the environment. Their attention to detail and use of appropriate plants has not only enhanced the entrance to our beautiful town but is taking care of the bees and butterflies alike.
This commitment has seen Poulavone Roundabout transformed. The entire area has attracted huge attention. The foresight by Margaret and her Team in designing and planting the roundabout is exceptional. 
Biodiversity and Pollinators are now part of my everyday conversation and in the past twelve months I have learned a huge amount on the subjects. Everyone of us here tonight have a responsibility to make a difference and to Plant Flowers so that the Bees will Follow. 
Our website will post specific tips and ideas for everyone to try and hopefully we will all have a piece of the pollinator corridor in our garden and estate.
I have said in the past that BTT is more than a voluntary group. We work as a team and each person’s contribution whether of time or expertise is equally important. It is like a family always looking out for its members. Everyone is welcome and how much or how little of their time all goes to the betterment of Ballincollig.
To the men who have been working with us on the Community Employment Scheme through the Department of Social Protection and TUS Scheme through SECAD we say a huge Thank You. These men are incredibly hardworking and dedicated and form an integral part of our team. I wish to thank the CE scheme supervisor Mary Foley and Joe Dilworth in SECAD/TUS who continue to be very supportive of us.
I want to say a sincere thank you to Ger Keogh, John O’Regan and Tony Whelan who, though retired, have played an incredible role in supervising guiding and assisting these lads.
I would like to publicly acknowledge the support and commitment of our Committee, who always approach their tasks in an extremely professional and enthusiastic manner. It is a privilege to work with each one of you. I want to welcome our newest committee members here tonight, namely the Transition Year Students from BCS and Coláiste Choilm. We look forward to working with them, developing some projects along with our Schools Liaison officer Garret Kelleher
Business Liaison Officer John Buckley 
What can I say about these incredible people? They are hardworking, proud, driven, welcoming and friendly. Our volunteers cannot be thanked enough for what they do 52 weeks of the year. Once again, this year they have worked incredibly hard to keep Ballincollig looking spectacular. Their work cannot be underestimated and certainly cannot be taken for granted.  
Volunteer Hours Slide 6567 Hours
To keep up to date with our projects, don’t forget to visit our website and our Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter!!!. 
Our website continues to grow in popularity and is updated daily. We asked for people to send in Old Photos of Ballincollig so that we may post them and people may enjoy the memories but unfortunately these have been slow to come in. So I am asking each of you if you have at least one picture of Ballincollig past to share with us we would love to have them. The judges took time to look at our website and even commented on this page.
Please check it out at and include us as a friend on Facebook. All results from tonight will be up on the site once announced and photos will follow over the coming days. 
The weekly notes on the newsletter are done by our PRO Kieran O’Shea and his ability to make them interesting and relevant is a fantastic skill. Thank you Kieran. 
I must mention two men who have been christened “The Waterboys” I am speaking of course of the Two Pat’s.  The planters in Ballincollig are probably the best cared for planters in the country. They were joined this year by another pair who looked after the Planters at Eastgate. Ann Marie and Michael did a great job keeping these in great condition. The time and dedication given to watering this year is immeasurable and this work has really paid off. It is evident that even in early October there is still plenty of colour around. 
I want to say a very special thank you to John O’Donovan of O’Donovan Environmental who gave us the use of a water bowser for the whole summer. John could not have done more for us and without the second watering unit the flowers would have struggled.
The planters have been watered 70 nights using an average of 1000 Litres per night in total some 80,000 Litres and 280 Hours. This year nearly all the water came from water harvesting from Scoil Barra – 
Pat Clarke is also the person responsible for our very regular text messages. In the last 12 months he has sent out 24,500 texts. Again, thank you Pat. 
While this is our team at present, we need to expand and bring on board people with expertise who can give us guidance and assistance to do what we do even better. So if you can give any time or assistance please do come and join us. 
Ballincollig has undergone major changes since, we, as a committee took over. In those 20 years we have seen the whole area transform into a beautiful place in which to live, work and relax where the old and the new have blended effortlessly. A community that has grown to become one of the most sought-after areas in which to reside. A Community that has never lost its heart or its village feel. 
Deputy Mayor I hope tonight you will see first-hand how this great community works. BTT is committed to doing the very best it can to not only keep Ballincollig at its present standard but push it forward to further improve.
We have always said we have nothing to gain from Tidy Towns except Pride. We will continue to work for our community because this is what we have committed to do.
Ladies and gentlemen each year we try to maintain the standard we reached and improve on the previous year. 2020 is another crucial year for Ballincollig. We are within touching distance of achieving the Ultimate Prize. As a community the Team Effort is more evident than ever before. As a community we need to push forward to achieve more and sincerely hope that we can count on each and every one of you to work with us.
 Gur raibh mile maith agaibh go leir