Seven Trees for Seven Signatories
Ministers Alan Kelly, T.D., Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government and Minister Heather Humphreys T.D. Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, in collaboration with the Tree Council of Ireland, today announced a new initiative as part of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme. All of the villages, towns and cities who have won the overall TidyTowns award since the competition’s inception in 1958 will be awarded seven Sessile Oak trees, to represent the seven signatories to the Proclamation. This, our National Tree, is a gift to each community and will serve as a connection between our country’s past and our hopes for the future. The programme of events and initiatives to commemorate 1916 encompasses seven strands, one of which is Community Participation. TidyTowns committees are one of the best examples of citizen engagement involving the community and voluntary sector participation throughout the country.
Speaking at the National Ploughing Championships today Minister Kelly said “The award of seven oak trees to each of the TidyTowns winners since 1958 is in recognition of the efforts of local people to make their own community a better place to live in. It will serve as a permanent reminder of the 1916 Rising and the seven signatories to the Proclamation in each location. It celebrates volunteering and the community participation which are essential elements in winning TidyTowns. TidyTowns committees across Ireland have been pioneers in making their towns liveable, vibrant and green communities for nearly sixty years and it gives me great pleasure to be able to recognise their efforts at this important juncture in our history.”
Minister Humphreys added “We want the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme to reach into communities right across the country, so who better to help us with us that than the Tidy Towns network. This tree planting initiative will leave a legacy for years to come in communities which have been successful in the Tidy Towns competition over the last 57 years. The trees will symbolise the seven signatories of the Proclamation, while also serving to recognise the huge contribution Tidy Towns committees have made to towns and villages across the country. I would like to thank Minister Kelly and his Department for their work on this project.”
The TidyTowns Unit of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government and Local Authorities will be in contact with each winning location in the near future to make arrangements for the tree planting.