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Brendan departs Ardee Tidy Towns after 30 years

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Brendan Matthews at the Nuremore Hotel, Carrickmacross. Photo Credit: Adrian Crawley.
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This article originally appeared on ThisIsArdee.ie

It’s all change at committee level of Ardee Tidy Towns after last Wednesday night’s 2017 Annual General Meeting saw the positions of chairperson, secretary and treasurer change hands.

After 30 years of service to the local Tidy Towns initiative, Brendan Matthews – as expected – stood down on Wednesday with local Independent councillor Jim Tenanty taking over the role of Chairperson for 2018. Two other mainstays of the committee – Miriam Clarke and Anna Keenan – have also left behind their Secretary and Treasurer roles with the group.

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Michael Farrelly was named the new Secretary while Liz McKenny was named the new Treasurer, succeeding Anna Keenan.

The trio can leave the committee on a high with Ardee having enjoyed their best result in a decade at this year’s national Tidy Towns competition, securing a silver medal. Last week, Ardee was also named Most Improved Town at the Louth Tidy Towns’ Together Looking Good Awards in Dundalk.

A host of businesses and housing estates also received high marks in the competition, as Ardee was widely praised for it’s efforts in 2017.

This year’s silver medal award is a first for Ardee and follows a first ever bronze medal award in 2012, a testament to the work and labours of the committee. That year, the now defunct Ardee Town Council held a civic reception in honour of the Tidy Towns committee. 2017 marked the 43rd year Ardee had entered the Tidy Towns competition.

It has undertaken many streetscape improvement works over the years and has also done much work to highlight heritage and ecology in the town. Every year, their extensive efforts in readying Ardee for Tidy Towns and Looking Good competitions do not go unnoticed.

Recent initiatives Ardee Tidy Towns has been involved with include the Green Flag Schools programme and the development of vegetable, herb and flower garden in Moorehall Retirement Village. It was heavily involved in 2012’s National Tree Week which saw President Michael D Higgins visit the town and played a huge role in the development of areas such as the Railway Line Walk.

Speaking to ThisIsArdee.ie on Thursday, Fine Gael councillor Dolores Minogue said she would be requesting that civic honours be bestowed on Brendan, Miriam and Anna for their tireless efforts as part of Tidy Towns in Ardee.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Brendan, Miriam and Anna for all their hard work and dedication in making Ardee a beautiful place,” she said.  “I would like to wish the new committee the very best of luck in their new role – Jim Tenanty, Michael Farrelly and Liz Mc Kenny – I’m looking forward to working with this committee.”

Incoming treasurer Liz McKenny, also a member of the Ferdia Park Environmental Association, also paid tribute to the outgoing chairman.

“When I started on the committee way back, Brendan was a driving force and such encouragement. There’s not enough words in the dictionary to describe Brendan. He’s wonderful and an inspiration,” she said.

“He’s just brilliant, absolutely brilliant. I have the utmost respect for him. His shoes are not going to be easy shoes to fill but we’ll give it our best shot.”

Additionally, Ardee Tidy Towns are set to benefit to the tune of between €1,000 and €4,000 from new government funding to mark the 60th anniversary of Tidy Towns. The funding was announced late last week by Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring.

€40,000 has been allocated for Louth and each committee in the county will be allowed to apply for a small grant to support the work they do.

Fergus O’Dowd TD welcomed the news. “I am delighted to see even more funding going to towns and villages here in County Louth after such a successful year on the TidyTowns road.

“I have no doubt that the money will be a huge boost to our local communities and will be put to great use.

“This funding is an acknowledgment from our Government of the amazing work that has been done by tidy town’s organisations up and down the county for the last 60 years. These organisations have played in integral role in our local communities for decades now,” he continued.

Miriam Roe, LCC and Brendan Matthews, Ardee Tidy Towns with Bank of Ireland Enterprising Town judge John Fitzgerald during their visit to Ardee Business Park. Picture: Ken Finegan

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