'It’s great to see the old mart yard so spotless': Clean up of littered area in Fermoy welcomed following criticism

The four-acre old mart site, which has been empty since Cork Marts moved in 2007 to a purpose-built site outside the town, is privately owned and in part leased by Cork County Council as a car park, and it includes a complex of derelict buildings which Tidy Towns volunteers said were dangerous and rat-infested.
'It’s great to see the old mart yard so spotless': Clean up of littered area in Fermoy welcomed following criticism

Members of Fermoy’s Tidy Towns committee have welcomed a “miraculous” clean-up of the old Mart Car Park in the wake of stinging criticism of the site in the recent Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) Litter League report.

MEMBERS of Fermoy’s Tidy Towns committee have welcomed a “miraculous” clean-up of the old Mart Car Park in the wake of stinging criticism of the site in the recent Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) Litter League report.

The old Mart Car Park, which had been singled out by IBAL as “by far the most heavily littered site” in Fermoy, was described after the clean-up by Cork County Council as “spotless” by one Tidy Towns volunteer, who welcomed the work as “better late than never”.

Fermoy scored seventh out of 40 towns and cities surveyed by IBAL in 2021, retaining its coveted “Cleaner Than European Norms” status - one of only nine places in the country to do so - but three sites of the town, the old Mart Car Park in the centre of the town in particular, brought Fermoy’s grade down.

Out of ten areas inspected by An Taisce on behalf of IBAL, seven scored an “A” rating, with the final report heaping praise upon the work of Tidy Towns volunteers, and singling out the Town Park, Patrick Street, and the Riverside Walk for praise.

However, three areas in Fermoy were deemed less than optimal, those being the Mill Island Car Park, the bring centre in the old Mart Car Park, and the old Mart Car Park itself, the latter being described as “by far the most heavily littered site [with] heavy levels of a wide variety of litter was trapped in low lying planting / weeds around the perimeter”.

The four-acre old mart site, which has been empty since Cork Marts moved in 2007 to a purpose-built site outside the town, is privately owned and in part leased by Cork County Council as a car park, and it includes a complex of derelict buildings which Tidy Towns volunteers said were dangerous and rat-infested.

According to volunteers from Fermoy Tidy Towns, the question of responsibility for maintenance of the mart site has long been a source of controversy between volunteers and Cork County Council.

Welcome development

Paul Kavanagh, who is project manager with Fermoy Tidy Towns and has been a driving force in its committee for almost a decade, told The Echo that the clean-up by Cork County Council was a very welcome development, as 2021 had been the third year running the town’s IBAL rating had been brought down by

the old mart site.

“Since Fermoy won the IBAL cleanest town in Ireland award in 2018, the old mart site has been an absolute eyesore, and it’s dragged us down every time,” Mr Kavanagh said.

“It’s great to see the old mart yard so spotless now, after all of our repeatedly appealing to Cork County Council to get its act together, and it’s a miraculous turnaround, which we welcome.

“It would have been great if Cork County Council could have got on top of the situation before the mart yard once again kept us out of the top five towns in the country, but better late than never,” he said.

In welcoming these improvements, Mr Kavanagh called for cameras to be installed near the town’s bring centre to discourage dumping.

He noted that Fermoy has been granted €1.9 million under the Government’s Rural Regeneration Development Fund, and welcomed plans to rejuvenate the town centre by addressing the issue of vacant and derelict buildings in the town.

Mr Kavanagh suggested that the council should use IBAL’s reports as a template for maintenance and infrastructure upgrading, and called for the return of the town’s on-street litter bins, removed 18 months ago.

He thanked the Tidy Towns volunteers and the people of the town for their cooperation and asked for their ongoing support to help Fermoy, representing Cork County, to win the coveted title of Ireland’s cleanest town in 2022.

Fine Gael Councillor Noel McCarthy, who is chairman of Fermoy Tidy Towns, commended Cork County Council on its work in cleaning up the site, saying the council workers had done “fantastic” work, and said everyone in the town needed to work together to reclaim the title of Ireland’s cleanest town.

Mr McCarthy thanked the Avondhu Blackwater Partnership and the Tús workers for all of their contributions.

Council s

A spokesperson for Cork County Council noted that its lease with the owner of the old mart site does not extend to the site’s derelict buildings, which, they said, are in private ownership.

However, they said, a schedule of works has been agreed with the property owner, with works agreed to be carried out in the coming weeks by the owner.

“These works, when complete, will improve the appearance of this particular area of the site.

“Otherwise Council maintenance extends to litter picking and daily servicing of the bring banks, which are prone to daily abuse,” the council spokesperson said.

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