'A simple idea that works very well': Paul O'Connell launches Team Limerick Clean-Up

Norma Prendiville

Reporter:

Norma Prendiville

Go team: Paul O’Connell with Hannah Noonan, Amy Lane, Ella Byrne and Sadhbh Galvin from Scoil Iosaf Girls' NS at the launch in Newcastle West Picture: Alan Place

Go team: Paul O’Connell with Hannah Noonan, Amy Lane, Ella Byrne and Sadhbh Galvin from Scoil Iosaf Girls' NS at the launch in Newcastle West Picture: Alan Place

IT'S a great, simple idea that works very well, said Paul O'Connell when he launched the fourth Team Limerick Clean-up in Newcastle West this Thursday. 

The former Munster, Ireland and Lions rugby captain is the smiling, public face of TLC4 and is very proud to be associated with the runaway success it has become in just three years. It returns again this Good Friday, March 30. 

Something similar may be done elsewhere, but one of Limerick's best ambassadors said: “No-one is doing it as well as we are.” 

Last year, he explained, about 16,500 people were out and about on Good Friday, collecting litter from city streets and estates and in every town, village and townland in the county.  

“It is a really simple idea. You register on the website, we send you on a pack ...you get out for a few hours and if you can bring a few kids on, all the better,” said the retired rugby star.

And Paul had one clear message for Limerick. Keeping Limerick litter-free is everybody's responsibility.

“It is our own job. It is nobody else’s job,” he said. 

“It is not just doing it once. It is doing it every year. It becomes soemthing that you do every Good Friday. 

“With the JP McManus Foundation, we are able to do it really well. We are able to promote it well and send out all the packs,” he continued.

The tie-in with Mr Binman, with Limerick City and County Council and with the media partners, which includes the Limerick Leader, was also crucial to the success, he stressed. 

Paul also stressed the importance of getting young people involved.

“If a kid is doing this from junior or senior infants and all the way up, you have a kid then with some very good habits,” he said.

And this was as important as picking up the litter. 

There will be an even greater focus this year on involving kids Paul explained, particularly through the Love Limerick competition. Primary school pupils are being asked to create Love Limerick hearts and these will go on display for Valentine's Day. 

“It helps promote the idea,” Paul said. But it’s a bit of fun too. 

This year again also, Paul and lots of other well-known names will tour the city and county, encouraging people as they do their bit for Limerick. 

“I really do enjoy it. I have a lot of pride in it,” Paul said. 

The original idea for TLC he revealed, came about one day while he and JP were having a cup of tea and where the talk turned to community and living in communities which may not be as close-knit now as before.

TLC on Good Friday, Paul said, is “one of the big opportunities in the year” to meet up with neighbours, to have a chat, do a bit of work together and then have a cup of tea afterwards. 

Paul is urging everyone to sign up and be part of this year’s clean up army.

Register now with www.teamlimerickcleanup.ie.