Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Rural and Community Development
Tidy Towns Committees
33. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development her plans regarding the Tidy Towns competition; if the competition will be held in 2021; if so, the supports her Department will provide to the local groups; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43953/20]
Since its inception in 1958 when it had 52 entrants, the TidyTowns competition has grown year-on-year to see a record number of 924 entrants in 2019. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the 2020 SuperValu TidyTowns competition had to be cancelled on public health grounds. At that time, it would not have been possible for the TidyTowns Committees around the country to deliver their projects in the usual way.
However, as we have moved through different stages of living alongside the pandemic, the TidyTowns volunteers have demonstrated that they can continue to do some of their activities while still following all of the necessary public health precautions. My Department has been supporting TidyTowns groups in that work and assisting them in staying connected with the competition and with each other through different communication channels, including a monthly newsletter.
With regard to 2021, I can assure the Deputy that the SuperValu TidyTowns Competition will take place next year. It is important that we recognise and reward the great work that is happening around the country and the pride of place which binds people together during these difficult times.
We may need to alter and adapt our approach to delivering the competition next year given the on-going constraints posed by COVID. My Department is currently considering the appropriate format for the 2021 competition, having regard to restrictions at each of the five Levels of the Government’s Plan for Living with COVID-19, and the paramount need to protect the health and wellbeing of volunteers and adjudicators. The details of any changes in the competition will be shared with the TidyTowns groups well in advance.
Towards the end of last year, €1.4 million was allocated to TidyTowns Committees to support them in their work for the 2020 competition. The Committees have been advised that this funding can now be carried forward to support their work in 2021.