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Ennis has been named Ireland's Tidiest Large Urban Centre for the fifth time in the 55-year history of the National TidyTowns Competition.

The result was announced today (Monday, 9 September 2013) by Mr. Phil Hogan, Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government at the 2013 National SuperValu TidyTowns Awards Ceremony in Dublin.

Ennis, which finished joint third place overall, was marked against strict adjudication criteria and beat off stiff competition from other large urban centres such as Kilkenny City. The Clare County capital has previously won the award in 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2012.

Other competition winners included Moynalty, Co Meath (Tidiest Village and overall winner), Kenmare, Co Kerry (Tidiest Small Town), and Killarney, Co Kerry (Tidiest Large Town). Ennis received 314 points out of a maximum of 400, just 2 points less than the overall winner. Ennis TidyTowns Committee was presented with a trophy commemorating their win along with a cheque for €5,000.

Meanwhile, Ennis has won this year’s Midwest Regional Award and has also retained the Clare County Award for the 15th successive year, while it has received its 13th Gold Medal in as many years. Kilrush was commended in the County Award category.

Ennis was, again, named amongst 10 towns to receive a Tourism Towns Award, a category sponsored by Failte Ireland. The other winning towns were Cobh, Drogheda, Westport, Tralee, Murrisk, Mulranny, Kilkenny, Kenmare and Letterkenny.

There was further success for County Clare today when Mountshannon and Kilrush both received a Gold Medal. Meanwhile, Kilkee and Tuamgraney both secured Bronze Medals. Tulla picked up the County Endeavour Award after it recorded a 5% mark-up on its score from 2012. Sean Lenihan, member of the Miltown Malbay Tidy Towns Committee and an employee of Clare County Council, was one of 10 individuals nationwide to receive a Supervalu TidyTowns Heroes award.

Speaking following this afternoon’s awards ceremony, Mayor of Ennis Councillor Mary-Coote Ryan noted that the award successes for Ennis were based on a collaborative approach adopted by community groups, schools, residents associations, businesses and State agencies, in partnership with Ennis Town Council. Mayor Coote-Ryan added: “The year-round work that has been put in by the TidyTowns Committee and the wider community has reaped dividends and Ennis has reaffirmed its status as one of the best performing TidyTowns participants in the country. Today’s success is testament to the spirit of volunteerism and pride of place that exists in Ennis and as Mayor I am honoured to have been present at today’s awards ceremony.”

Mayor of Clare Joe Arkins expressed his delighted the Ennis and Clare’s longstanding track record of success in the competition continued this year. He stated: “I want to acknowledge the positive work that takes place in Ennis and all of Clare’s towns and villages by the hardworking groups who with the support of Clare Local Authorities have made the County a clean and green destination to live in, do business in and visit. This positive contribution is of particular significance in 2013, the year of The Gathering, during which they have helped to showcase our capital town, county and country in the best possible light.”

Aine Purcell, Chairperson of Ennis TidyTowns Committee, commented: “These award successes mark the culmination of many months of hard work by local volunteers and members of the Ennis TidyTowns Committee to improve the appearance of the town and surrounding areas. The volunteers gave freely of their time throughout the summer months to enhance various public areas, to create and maintain flowerbeds, keep streets tidy, cut grass and pick up litter. Retaining the Gold Medal is a massive achievement for everybody concerned.”

Leonard Cleary, Ennis Town Clerk, said today’s TidyTowns results for Ennis are particularly significant considering the extremely high standards set by the TidyTowns adjudication panel this year. He continued: “TidyTowns not only helps to make Ennis a more attractive place to live in and visit, but it also acts as a springboard for the local community and business sector to promote their town as a visitor destination. It is heartening to see that the standards were extremely high again this year, which is a tribute to everyone involved with the Ennis TidyTowns effort.”

The Tidy Towns competition is organised by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government and sponsored by SuperValu. SuperValu, and its 180 plus storeowners around the country, have sponsored the National Tidy Towns competition since 1992. Judging of entries takes place in June, July and August each year. The SuperValu TidyTowns competition is open to all areas, big or small, urban or rural, and each are entered under their respective population categories ranging from the smallest, Category A - Under 200, to the largest, Category H - 25,001 and over. A special Nationwide programme about TidyTowns 2013, featuring interviews with representatives of winning towns, will be broadcast on RTE One at 7pm this evening (9th September). Full details of all this year’s winners are available at www.tidytowns.ie.