*Photograph: John Mangan

Ennis has been named as the overall winner in the Tidy Towns awards.

At a live-streamed event to thousands of viewers on Friday, Ennis was named as Ireland’s tidiest town for 2021. The SuperValu TidyTowns competition has been in existence since 1958 and Ennis, was judged to be the best from a number of 847 entries to the competition this year.

In 1959, Ennis first entered the Tidy Towns competition and was last named winners in 2005. Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys (FG) said Ennis has “been consistently achieving high standards in the competition at local, regional, national and European level”.

Speaking at Friday’s awards ceremony, Minister Humphreys commented on its selection as Ireland’s tidiest large urban centre and overall winner, “Given the tremendous interest in the competition and the increasing efforts made by all entrants, it is a wonderful achievement to take the national title for a second time; this really demonstrates that resilience and determination do reap rewards”.

Other big winners included Geashill, Co Offaly (Ireland’s tidiest village), Abbeyleix, Co Laois (Ireland’s tidiest small town) and Cobh, Co Cork (Ireland’s tidiest large town). Minister Humphreys also announced a special allocation of €1.5 million in funding to support the work of individual TidyTowns Committees around the country to assist them in their continued efforts to enhance their towns and villages.

Managing Director of SuperValu, Ian Allen said Ennis’ selection was “a fantastic achievement and is the result of incredible work and dedication by the committee”.

A record number of 1,022 groups engaged in the competition this year.

Clare TD, Joe Carey (FG) described the award as “a monumental achievement”. He has called on Clare County Council to offer a civic reception to the “hard working volunteers” who he said “have selflessly given their time freely over the years. Today’s news is a huge boost to Ennis and an example to all of us around Clare as to what can be achieved through hard work and persistence”.

“To beat off stiff competition from 846 other entrants is no mean feat but a quick walk-through Ennis will show you exactly how they achieved it. It’s a regular occurrence to drive through the town on any given day and see the team of volunteers bending over backwards to pick up litter in the hi-vis vests, sprucing up the flower beds and pots and so on,” Deputy Cathal Crowe (FF) stated.

Crowe added, “Not only did Ennis manage to take the top prize, the town was also named the country’s tidiest large urban centre in the smaller prizes, meaning a total of €15,000 in prize money is coming back to the Banner today. It’s been 16 years since Ennis last took home the title, so this achievement is all the more sweet”.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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