The Ferrycarrig Hotel was filled to capacity on Monday 12 November as the annual Wexford County Council Environment Awards took place. More than 300 representatives supported by their local councillors from all across County Wexford attended, including community groups, volunteers, resident groups and individuals, as their wonderful year-long efforts to enhance their local community were acknowledged by the Council.
Councillor Keith Doyle, Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council, warmly welcomed and congratulated all the participants before going on to acknowledge the magnificent voluntary work that is carried out annually throughout the county. The Cathaoirleach paid tribute to the many excellent people who work so hard year in, year out, to enhance their communities.
“It is heartening to see groups of local volunteers showing such spirit and endeavour, and in the process inspiring others in their community to follow their example”, said Councillor Doyle. “Towns and villages all across County Wexford are more attractive, better cared for, better places to live and more appealing places to visit as a result of your hard work and dedication. This evening, as Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council, it is my honour and privilege to recognise the commitment and dedication of all committees and individuals who make such a real difference at a local level”, he added.
There were many notable highlights throughout the evening. Tidy Town groups were recognised for their achievements in the National Tidy Towns special category awards, including Enniscorthy Tidy Towns, who were presented with the Tidy Towns Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland Award. Monageer Tidy Towns and Rosslare Tidy Towns were presented with the Tidy Towns Sustainable Development Award, while Ballyduff Development Group was the recipient of the Can It Award.
Tidy Towns stalwarts Mary Gethings from Ferns and Lili Masterson of Ballycanew were also recognised on the night for receiving the Tidy Towns Community Hero Award.
Ballyduff Development Group, Camolin Community Development Association, Kilanerin Tidy Towns and Rathpierce Community Group were also presented with awards for their participation in the North Wexford 2K Cleanup Initative, while 22nd Wexford Oulart Scout Group was presented with a plaque having won the Community Group Snap Into Action Competition.
An Environment quiz kept the excited attendance guessing at the beginning of the night and prizes to the first six correct answers drawn were presented to lucky winners Olivia McCauley, A J O’Neill, Tiernan Busher, Bridget Braham, Kevin Walker and Eithne Turner.
The overall winner of the Keep Wexford Beautiful Competition was Kilanerin Tidy Towns, with Master of Ceremonies for the night, Alan McGuire, reading the citation:
"A warm welcome greets you on entering Kilanerin Village. The new addition of “Crann an Iarann” Tree of Iron is a unique feature. Colourful flower beds along with the freshly painted bicycle catch your eye passing The Elms housing estate. Continued work is evident on the school grounds, colourful flowers greet you at the entrance and the window sills are awash with colour.
Once again the green fingers have been out in the community garden. Tasty fruit and vegetables are produced for all to enjoy, and although constant re-planting ensures regular supply, the almost empty garden beds show how much local people value this resource, while the wonderful mural painted on the gable end of the house reflects the garden’s biodiversity.
Commercial properties play their part in keeping this a picturesque village, with hanging baskets and colourful displays visible throughout. There is a strong emphasis on bee–friendly plants and the approach roads into the village are lined with natural, well maintained hedges and trees. New bee-boxes are dotted along the village and the freshly painted water pump is a lovely reminder of by gone days.
Well done Kilanerin – once again judges were impressed with the overall up-keep and appearance of your village".
Local schools were well represented with seventeen schools receiving presentations from Councillor Keith Doyle, Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council. St Mary’s National School, Tagoat was awarded for receiving their first green flag and were also presented with a nest box sponsored by The Wexford Naturalists’ Field Club.
This year seven schools in Wexford were awarded certificates for their participation in An Taisce’s Coastcare Project. Ballycanew National School, Ballyellis National School, Courtnacuddy National School, Scoil Naomh Mhaodhóig, Poulfur, Fethard on Sea, Scoil Mhuire, Rosslare, St Ibar’s National School, Castlebridge and St Patrick’s National School, Craanford all participated in the Coastcare Project.
Laura Kehoe, Ballyellis National School, was awarded a plaque as the overall primary school winner in the Christmas Decoration Competition 2017 held in conjunction with South East Radio. Her entry entitled ‘I Can Sing Choir’ was made by using a box and aluminium cans. David Andoo, CBS Primary School, was awarded as the overall primary school winner in the Food Waste Prevention Colouring Competition. Marshalstown National School was awarded a plaque as the overall primary school winner in the Food Waste Prevention Primary school Competition and Meanscoil Gharman was the overall winner in the Secondary School Food Waste Prevention Competition.
Certificates were presented to Erin Doyle, Ballyduff National School, who was the Overall Primary School Winner in the Environment Artwork Competition with Aleksandra Piwka, Gorey Community School, adjudged the overall secondary school winner of the Environment Artwork Competition.
There was joy too for St Colman’s National School, Ballindaggin – the beautifully maintained facility, recognised as being Wexford’s Cleanest School.
Rathnure National School also featured among the winners, receiving the Battery Champion Award.
An Award for Outstanding Individual Contribution to Wexford’s Environment was presented to Jim Donohue and Lili Masterson, both worthy winners.
The whole event was wonderfully organised by Council staff, expertly presented as ever by Master of Ceremonies, Alan McGuire and enjoyed by all. The feeling leaving the Ferrycarrig Hotel was certainly one of satisfaction for work well done and roll on next year.
Our Environment is clearly in very good hands.