Catchment News

Waters and Communities TidyTowns Special Awards 2017

| in News, Stories, Water and Communities

Huge congratulations to Emyvale TidyTowns group from County Monaghan who are the overall winners in the Waters and Communities TidyTowns special award 2017.  This is the first year of this award and judging by the number of applications, 59 in total, it will be a regular feature in the TidyTowns calendar. 

The Waters and Communities award recognises communities who are taking positive steps to raise awareness and appreciation of their local rivers, lakes, streams, canals and coastal areas. The award is sponsored by Inland Fisheries Ireland, who are responsible for managing the inland fisheries and sea angling sectors; Waterways Ireland, who are responsible for the management of inland navigable waterways; and the Local Authority Waters and Communities Office who promote public participation in the protection and management of our natural waters.

Emyvale TidyTowns group were chosen as winners for their efforts at Emy Lough and river where they have been busy recruiting volunteers and working with Monaghan County Council to clean up litter and dumping.  ‘Raising awareness’ is the motto of Emyvale TidyTowns and in collaboration with Emy and District Anglers together they are successfully running a number of local awareness projects, such as: a Citizen Science project monitoring water quality in Emy Lough; a water bottle and silt traps awareness project; and a wildflower survey of Emy Lough.

This year they upcycled timber pallets to make new bee, bat and bird boxes. Some members of the TidyTowns group are also involved with the River Blackwater Catchment Trust and sit on the Steering Committee of the ‘Our Water Our Community’ initiative headed up by Dundalk IT.

Judging the Award

All 59 entries were assessed by a panel of judges appointed by Inland Fisheries Ireland, Waterways Ireland and the Local Authority Waters and Communities Office. The judges assessed each application for initiatives undertaken during 2016 only and based on the following criteria:

  1. Awareness raising by the community group of their local water body (eg. clean up, development of amenity area(s), biodiversity information such as signage, information leaflets, habitat surveys, bird boxes, outdoor classrooms, developing of safe access, control of invasive species, instream measures, promotion of angling etc).
  2. Involvement by the wider community in the project (eg. schools, landowners or other groups).
  3. Engagement with the Local Authority, Local Development Company or any public agencies in developing the project.
  4. Long term environmental benefits of the project to the local community.
  5. Additional information and future plans.

A total prize fund of €7,000 was divided into four regional winners and four runners up, with  an additional overall winner selected from the four regions. The results of the judging panel were as follows:


Runners Up by Region €500 each

Midlands & West         Baltrasna Boreen Biodiversity Group, Co. Westmeath.

North West & West     Culdaff River Community Angling Group, Co. Donegal.

South East                     Cheekpoint & Faithleg Development Group, Co. Waterford.

Midwest & South West            Castletownroche TidyTowns Committee, Co. Cork.

Winners Category €1,000 each

Midlands & east           Dodder Action Group, Dublin.

North West & West     Emyvale TidyTowns, Co. Monaghan.

South East                    The Friends of St. Johns River, Co. Waterford.

Midwest & South West Glounthaune TidyTowns, Co. Cork.

Overall Winner and an additional €1,000

Emyvale TidyTowns, Co. Monaghan.

“Those who can, do. Those who can do more, volunteer” Teresa Guillemets.

Who is involved?

Quite simply, everyone in Ireland has a role to play. This can be from something as simple as making sure you don’t pollute your local stream, or a local community working together to establish a Rivers Trust to enhance the rivers and lakes in their area, to a Government Department or Agency helping a Minister implement a new policy to help protect and enhance all our water bodies.

This website has been developed and is maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency, and is a collaboration between the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Local Authority Waters Programme.


Local Authority Waters Programme

The Local Authority Waters Programme coordinates the efforts of local authorities and other public bodies in the implementation of the River Basin Management Plan, and supports local community and stakeholder involvement in managing our natural waters, for everyone’s benefit.


Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA is responsible for coordinating the monitoring, assessment and reporting on the status of our 4,842 water bodies, looking at trends and changes, determining which waterbodies are at risk and what could be causing this, and drafting environmental objectives for each.


Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage

The Department is responsible for making sure that the right policies, regulations and resources are in place to implement the Water Framework Directive, and developing a River Basin Management Plan and Programme of Measures to protect and restore our waters.