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Killarney retains ‘clean’ status in latest IBAL rankings

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By Michelle Crean

Killarney has managed to retain its ‘clean’ status in the latest litter survey - but didn't come close to challenging Naas for the title of Ireland's cleanest town.

That's according to the latest survey the Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) which placed Killarney in 28th place with Tralee slightly ahead in 21 place in the ranking of 40 towns and cities nationwide.

In all, three quarters of Ireland’s cities and towns were deemed ‘clean’ in 2022, compared to just over half in the previous year.

An Taisce, which conducts the surveys on behalf of IBAL, said Killarney "just holds on to its clean status".

"While not reaching the heights of previous years, Killarney just holds on to its clean status. Top ranking sites included the approach roads and Killarney Sports and Leisure Centre – the latter was exceptionally well presented and maintained. It is a shame that the Main Street in this important tourist town just missed the top litter grade, not much effort is required to rectify this. By far the most heavily littered area was the ‘Bins at Glebe Car Park’ site – clearly better management of commercial / industrial waste is required here".

Improvement

Cleanliness levels nationwide improved by 6% in 2022, with Naas pipping Kilkenny and Maynooth in the rankings. For the third year in succession, Waterford was the cleanest city, ahead of Galway. Urban areas improved by 12%, yet they continue to occupy the lower positions in the IBAL rankings.

“The results reflect a pattern of improvement since the peak of the COVID pandemic, when litter levels soared, especially in cities,” said IBAL’s Conor Horgan. “In particular we are seeing local authorities concentrate their efforts on ridding areas of heavily littered sites. We have no reason to believe this improvement will not be sustained. Cleanliness is a virtuous circle: clean streets beget clean streets, inspiring a pride and consciousness of the environment among people.”

Plastic

Plastic bottles and cans continue to be a major source of litter, second only to sweet wrappers, and present in one in three of the 500-plus sites surveyed.

IBAL believes the findings bolster the case for a deposit return scheme, which is due to be introduced this year, and which will see consumers pay a deposit which they can reclaim on returning their containers to a retailer or other collection point.

Coffee cups

“Based on this data the scheme is sorely needed and stands to rid our streets of a significant amount of litter. The same applies to the proposed coffee cup levy,” Conor added.

While there was a fall in the prevalence of coffee cups, they were still found in 25% of sites surveyed.

Cigarettes

The survey showed cigarette butts remain a persistent form of litter.

"We welcome the announcement that cigarette manufacturers will now be contributing to the cost of clean-up, but we really need to see preventative measures such as widespread butt disposal facilities alongside innovative packaging which can store butts."

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Valuable role of Kerry cancer support charity recognised nationally

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Cancer support charity Recovery Haven Kerry has been recognised for its vital role in supporting cancer patients and their families at a national ceremony in Dublin.

The renowned cancer support house was one of 16 such centres across Ireland that were presented with plaques to acknowledge their full membership of the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) Alliance – a group made up of voluntary and charity organisations delivering support services directly to cancer patients and their families. An additional 10 associate member charities were also honoured, including Kerry Cancer Support Group.

The Alliance advocates for, and supports, the development of integrated pathways between the cancer centres, acute hospitals, community cancer support services and primary care services. All members’ development is in line with the values of Sláintecare, seeking to provide assurance to healthcare professionals that these organisations are working to an agreed standard as set out in Best Practice Guidance published by the NCCP. 

Speaking after the ceremony, which was held at Dublin’s Farmleigh Estate, Recovery Haven Kerry Chairman, Tim McSwiney, explained that being compliant with the Best Practice Guidance for Community Cancer Support Centres is a true mark of quality. 

“It offers us a yardstick to measure what we are doing against the standards required. As a result, healthcare professionals have more confidence in referring people to our services. We are very proud to be a member of the Alliance,” he said.

Recovery Haven Kerry was represented at the event by centre manager, Gemma Fort and Client Services Co-Ordinator, Siobhan MacSweeney and were presented with their plaque by NCCP Lead for Cancer Survivorship, Louise Mullen, Clinical Lead for Psycho-Oncology Dr Helen Greally, and Minister of State at the Department of Health, Colm Burke. 

The event was also used as an opportunity to announce funding of €3m for the NCCP’s Alliance of Community Cancer Support Centres and Services through Budget 2024. The NCCP is currently in the process of distributing these funds which will directly and positively impact the delivery of services for patients and families nationally.

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‘More Precious Than Gold’ book launch

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At the official book launch of ‘More Precious Than Gold: My enduring connection with John McShain – the man who built Washington’ by Alice O’Neill-McLoughlin at Killarney House, was Minister of State for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, T.D.

Alice was born the eldest of eleven children into an Irish farming family in Rosbercon, New Ross, County Wexford. In 1978, she was awarded a scholarship from John McShain- the iconic builder, philanthropist, devout Catholic with Derry ancestry, responsible for many famous American landmarks, including the Jefferson Memorial and the Pentagon.

Her book records the lifelong personal correspondence Alice exchanged with ‘The Man Who Built Washington.’ His philanthropy extended to the Irish people in the bequeathing to the State of Killarney House and the surrounding thousands of acres incorporating the Lakes, Ross Castle, and Innisfallen Island. In 2019, Alice had the honour of inducting John McShain into the Irish America Hall of Fame in her home town of New Ross in the presence of his relatives from Philadelphia and Derry. This is a tale of altruism, of gratitude, of faith and of a life lived in the pursuit of excellence.

Alice also donated her treasured correspondence of letters from John McShain for the archive at Killarney House. Also in attendance were Members of the Ignatius A. O’Shaughnessy family, who was founder of The Globe Oil and Refining Company – and part of a consortium of wealthy American businessmen who were going to purchase the lakes of Killarney as a Country Club in the 1950’s.

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