Kilrush will represent Ireland in the 2015 International Entente Florale competition, it has been announced.
The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government has confirmed to Clare County Council and the Kilrush Tidy Towns Committee that the town will participate in the prestigious European-wide horticultural and environmental competition.
Kilrush will represent the country in the ‘Town’ category for population centres of less than 5,000 people. Ireland was represented by Tralee (Kerry) and Dromod (Leitrim) in 2014.
Clare’s last success in the competition, which officially recognises the improvement of the quality of life for local urban and village communities, came in 2002 when Ennis was named a Gold Medal Winner in the ‘City’ category. The County Capital also won a Silver Medal in 1997.
Anne Haugh, Director of Services, Clare County Council welcomed the news, adding that the involvement of Kilrush in the competition will “greatly enhance the reputation of the town”.
Ms. Haugh said, “Key to Kilrush’s nomination and its recent award success, namely winning the Tidiest Small Town category of the national TidyTowns competition, has been the partnership approach that has been adopted locally. There is a broad range of groups and organisations now involved in promoting and enhancing the appearance of the town including the local TidyTowns Committee, the Department of Social Protection funded by Kilrush Amenity Trust, Clare County Council staff, the local business sector, and the people of the town and surrounding areas.
“We look forward to working with the Kilrush TidyTowns Committee in forming a local Entente Florale working committee over the next few months so as to maximise the town’s chances of succeeding in the competition,” she added.
Murt Collins of the Kilrush TidyTowns Committee stated: “Many people throughout Kilrush have worked tirelessly and selflessly down through the years to improve the appearance of the town.  Volunteers have toiled throughout the year to create and maintain flowerbeds, keep streets tidy, cut grass and pick up litter. This Entente Florale nomination further enhances the status of Kilrush as a growing and prosperous town and as an attractive visitor destination.”
In a letter to Clare County Council meanwhile, Philip Finn of the Department of the Environment’s TidyTown’s Unit said: “While the overall standard of our European competitors is extremely high, I am confident that the high standards already achieved by Kilrush in the TidyTowns Competition, together with the already established support of all sectors of the community, signify that Kilrush has the capacity to do very well in this competition.”
The aim of the Entente Florale competition is to promote the greening of towns and villages;    flowers, shrubs, green spaces and parks; development which is environmentally and ecologically sensitive; and education and communication initiatives which promote environmental awareness.
The 2015 Entente Floral Prize giving ceremony will be held in September 2015. For more visit www.entente-florale.eu.

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