The national tidy towns judges visited Ballinode village on 23rd June 2022. The results reflected a 5 point gain on the marks awarded for 2021.

Community – Your Planning and Involvement / An Pobal – Pleanáil agus Rannpháirtíocht: (43/80 marks awarded)

Fáilte chuig Comórtas Na mBailte Slachtmhara Super Valu don bhliain 2022. Táimid buíoch daoibh as ucht na hiontrála a chur chugainn, agus guimíd gach rath ar bhúr gcuid oibre amach anseo. Adh Mór… Thank you for application for this year’s competition. We are sorry to hear you have lost key members this year as a result of Covid. The pandemic has made volunteering more complicated with going out and about taking on a new meaning. We would like to extend our thanks for the remarkable work done by all volunteers over the last 20 years. Your efforts have helped to achieve many milestones and kept our towns & villages spinning around. We know and understand it has been a lot of work. Your endeavours are supported by the Ballinode Projects, local businesses/residents and Monaghan CoCo in delivering the Village Development Plan. You communicate through Facebook, What’s app, local media, the New Community Noticeboard and regularly attend meetings. Good to note the strong involvement of local school in Urbleshanney. Congratulations to all concerned and keep up the good work. We wish the new committee all the best for 2023.

Streetscape & Public Places / Sráid-Dreach & Áiteanna Poiblí: (41/80 marks awarded)

The village is fortunate to have a number of nice buildings, many an important part of your heritage. At its heart, a beautifully restored Mill Wheel enjoys a powerful run of water from the river Blackwater and acts as a focal point and tourist attraction for the village. The mill cottages are outstanding with fabulous floral displays. The village pump provides a splash of colour and also part of Ballinodes history. St. Dympna’s Church of Ireland was very well maintained and had lovely pollinator tubs. The community have access to a variety of safe walking areas over the bridge and in the park. Park railings require painting. The ‘before’ and ‘after’ photographs show the visual improvement to grass margins and your attention to detail. Your continued support to maintain properties will help set a high standard and hopefully encourage others to do the same. Your plans to build a passive community centre are on hold as they have to meet pretty specific standards to reduce the buildings ecological footprint. We look forward to the completed project in the near future.

Green Spaces and Landscaping / Spásanna Glasa agus Tírdhreachú: (43/80 marks awarded)

As the new project for 2022, the entry to the village is being improved by planting up Connolly’s corner. This site is being developed to tie in with the bee friendly planting schemes in other areas. This will help maximize the benefits for wildlife as well as for people. Updating the planting scheme to increase biodiversity and feature more seasonal plants is welcomed. We look forward to the planned creation of a community orchard at a future date, possibly behind Cappog estate. Planting trees provides food, shelter, and niche habitats for a range of plant/animal life and is one of the easiest ways of increasing the biodiversity value of an area. As mentioned, these are the issues facing the next committee. The village is served by nice sporting and picnic areas. Credit is due to a small committee who maintain large areas of communal space plus flower beds all year round.

Nature and Biodiversity in your Locality / An Dúlra agus an Bhithéagsúlacht i do cheantar: (35/55  marks awarded)

As mentioned earlier, your emphasis is on pollinator friendly planting schemes; replacing cordylines and evergreens and planting of bulbs for early pollinators, which will look amazing in the spring. These projects raise awareness of the importance of biodiversity and its conservation, and a good opportunity to organize wildlife themed talks, bat walks or competitions such as ‘Best Wildlife Friendly Estate’.

Sustainability – Doing more with less / Inmharthanacht – Mórán ar an mbeagán: (18/55 marks awarded)

This is a mental hurdle for many groups although when you dig down you find you are doing many things already under this heading. The report shows that you are already conscious of living a more sustainable lifestyle. Your environmentally friendly and sustainable practices to reduce chemicals were noted. Avoiding pesticides, planting ‘bee friendly’ and grass verges set aside for wildlife are all part of your plans. The Community Reuse Network Ireland has ideas for communities in their Reuse Toolkit. A Heritage/history or Nature trail is an excellent example of sustainable

Tidiness and Litter Control / Slachtmhaireacht agus Rialú Bruscair: (59/90 marks awarded)

A vote of thanks for participation in the annual spring and autumn clean ups and your regular litter picks by volunteers. There were some pieces of litter in the park but overall good. The new community notice board should be a great help in reducing fly posting and spread the word about Tidy Towns activities and events. Ongoing maintenance of power washing, weeding, painting etc. is a demanding task so well done to all who give of their time. We encourage you to keep workWell done on all the practical work done and the contribution of the CE worker does not go unnoticed. Road surfaces and pavements need repair in places, and this will be addressed in the new Village Plan. Grass verges are mown, and areas set aside as per Pollinator plan. Connolly’s corner is an area of great potential and will progress over the coming months. Pathways have been cleaned at Lemaculla and a special mention to the Stream Garden at this junction: It’s a picture postcard brought to life. ing on the new place name signs, coupled with ‘litter awareness logos.’ These can make a great first impression.

Residential Streets & Housing Areas / Sráideanna Cónaithe & Ceantair Tithíochta: (40/55 marks awarded)

There are 5 residential estates, and a good standard of presentation is achieved in them. The echo of your biodiversity plan is also seen here. Thanks to your worker for helping at Cappog estate. Flower beds are lovely everywhere. Area names look nice. Strong teamwork with these committees serves you well.

Approach Roads, Streets & Lanes / Bóithre Isteach, Sráideanna & Lánaí: (35/55 marks awarded)

Well done on all the practical work done and the contribution of the CE worker does not go unnoticed. Road surfaces and pavements need repair in places, and this will be addressed in the new Village Plan. Grass verges are mown, and areas set aside as per Pollinator plan. Connolly’s corner is an area of great potential and will progress over the coming months. Pathways have been cleaned at Lemaculla and a special mention to the Stream Garden at this junction: It’s a picture postcard brought to life.

Concluding Remarks: A lot has been achieved for your lovely village and we can’t thank you enough for all the hours given generously over the years. We look forward to the new committee and wish them all the best for the future.