The midlands had a clean sweep in the annual IBAL survey.
Portlaoise has been named one of the cleanest towns in Ireland.
The latest Irish Business Against Litter survey shows litter levels have risen slightly across the country, with cities again faring badly.
Dublin’s North Inner City has been branded a litter blackspot at the foot of the table, despite showing some improvement.
There was a slight fall in the number of clean towns nationwide, to 22.
However, Portlaoise comes in at number two in the rankings - deemed cleaner than European norms - while Mullingar, Tullamore and Athlone were all deemed 'clean'.
Athlone came in 18th, Tullamore was 20th, and Mullingar 22nd.
Spokesperson Conor Horgan says it could be the first time all four towns in one area have reached such a standard.
He says Mullingar, in particular, recorded an improvement on last year:
The An Taisce report for Portlaoise stated:
A great performance by Portlaoise, which is just pipped into 2nd place in the IBAL league. All but 2 sites were top-ranking, and a few deserve a special mention. Market Square was a freshly presented town square environment with novel bicycle parking feature, colourful planting and stone seating. The Main Street was particularly clean. The recent reconfiguration of Fitzmaurice Place has resulted in a lovely outdoor public space which has been sensitively presented and maintained.
The An Taisce report for Athlone stated:
Well over half of the sites surveyed in Athlone got the top litter grade – examples of these included Golden Island Shopping Centre, the main shopping street, Athlone Training Centre and Athlone Castle – the exterior of the latter was exceptionally well presented and maintained. At the opposite end of the spectrum was the Golden Island (Athlone) Civic Amenity Site – this ‘managed’ facility wasn’t just casually littered but significant dumping had taken place. It didn’t get into this stage over night and there was no change since it was surveyed earlier in 2021.
The An Taisce report for Tullamore stated:
Another strong showing by Tullamore. Top ranking sites included O’Connor Square / associated car parking and Tullamore Town Park – both of these were exceptionally well presented and maintained. Columcille Street was a very freshly presented shopping street with all aspects of the area surveyed in very good order. At the other end of the scale the Bring Centre was in a very poor state and subject to significant dumping. Meath Lane had a variety of miscellaneous items and is well on its way to becoming a blackspot if not addressed. The opportunity to ‘separate’ waste is a very welcome addition to the town, as noted at both Columcille Street and O’Connor Square.
The An Taisce report for Mullingar stated:
Mullingar has done enough to reclaim Clean status, with just one heavily littered site. The three approach roads created a positive first impression of Mullingar and Oliver Plunkett Street was very much deserving of the top litter grade. The heavily littered site was the Bring Centre at Council Car Park - it wasn’t so much littered but subject to the discarding of various items. There was a notable improvement along ‘Canal Bank, but it still has some way to go to get the top litter grade.
IBAL spokesperson, Conor Horgan says Naas claimed the top spot:
A third of towns and cities in Ireland have issues around PPE litter.
Mr. Horgan says PPE litter is a particularly difficult issue as people don't want to pick up stranger's waste: