The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, has given a firm commitment that the SuperValu Tidy Towns competition will proceed in 2021.
The SuperValu Tidy Towns competition has been in existence since 1958 and has become an integral part of our culture over the intervening years. The competition continues to grow in popularity and in 2019 a record 924 entries were received.
Unfortunately, like many other events, the competition did not proceed in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking about the cancellation of the competition Minister Humphreys said:
“The decision to cancel the competition this year was taken in line with public health advice and in collaboration with the competition sponsor SuperValu. This decision was made in April during the first period of severe restrictions when essentially the advice to everybody was to stay at home.
“Many of our Tidy Towns volunteers and adjudicators were very limited in what they could do earlier in the year. As we have moved through different stages of living alongside the pandemic, the Tidy Towns volunteers have demonstrated that they can continue to do some of their activities while still following all of the necessary public health precautions.”
The Department of Rural and Community Development is in regular contact with the close to 1,000 Tidy Towns groups around the country, through social media and through the monthly Tidy Towns newsletter. It is clear that some wonderful projects and community-wide initiatives have been delivered in recent months. Many of the Tidy Towns Groups have also been instrumental in assisting with the community response to COVID-19.
Looking ahead to next year, the Minister said:
“As we look forward to next year, I want to assure all of the Tidy Towns groups and their volunteers, that there will be a SuperValu Tidy Towns competition in 2021. We may need to alter and adapt our approach to delivering the competition next year, given the on-going constraints posed by COVID, but we can retain the ethos of the competition that has stood the test of time so well.
“My Department is currently considering the format the competition could take next year, having regard to restrictions on gatherings at each of the five levels of the Government’s Plan for Living with Covid-19, and the paramount need to protect the health and wellbeing of volunteers and adjudicators.
“The details of any changes in the competition will be shared with Tidy Towns groups well in advance. I also want to assure them, that my Department, our sponsor SuperValu and the Government is absolutely committed to the SuperValu Tidy Towns competition and we look forward to encouraging more and more towns and villages to join us in future years”.