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Fears council reform will hit litter control

Kilkenny City has retained the title of Ireland's cleanest town in a survey conducted by An Taisce.

Government plans to abolish town councils may have a negative impact on efforts to control litter, Irish Business Against Litter has warned.

The Local Government Bill, expected to come into effect ahead of the local elections in the summer, provides for the abolition of 80 town councils.

Six city and county councils in Limerick, Tipperary, and Waterford will merge into three new councils.

Ibal chairman Tom Cavanagh is worried that the commitment to keeping a town litter free will lessen as a result of the reform process.

"When responsibility is removed outside the confines of the town, there is a danger that this commitment lessens," he said.

Mr Cavanagh was addressing local authority representatives in Dublin yesterday when Ibal announced that Kilkenny had retained the title of Ireland’s cleanest town.

"What makes one town cleaner than another? Typically it is the commitment of the local councils to ensuring the local streets are clean every day of the year," he said.

Mr Cavanagh said litter control had become a source of pride to the council and the town folk.

"The Government needs to ensure that the tremendous strides made in recent years are not jeopardised by the proposed changes in the structure of local authorities," he said.

Kilkenny’s success at winning Ibal’s 2013 Anti Litter League Final marks the first time a town or city retained the title since the programme began in 2002.

The city narrowly beat Cavan and Tramore, Co Waterford, in the top three ranking of the 42 towns and cities surveyed.

An Taisce, which carries out the survey on behalf of Ibal, said it was a great result for Kilkenny.

"The N11 approach from Dublin was an excellent route into Kilkenny, creating a very positive first impression of the town. This very high standard was maintained for all of the sites surveyed," said Ireland’s national trust in its report.

Mr Cavanagh said Kilkenny was a major tourist attraction and Ibal was geared to supporting tourism in Ireland.

"As a busy city with lots of visitors throughout the year, Kilkenny faces certain challenges in keeping clean all the time. Winning this award for the second year shows they have really found the right formula. Well done to all," he said.

Mr Cavanagh also said that Ibal had consistently commented on Tramore’s beach being spoilt by litter, and it was great that the town had dealt with the problem in the past year.