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THURLES – IRELAND’S MOST CREATIVE FAIRTRADE TOWN

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What is the purpose of Fairtrade?

The purpose of a Fairtrade Town is to contribute to Fairtrade Mark Ireland’s aim in tackling poverty by enabling disadvantaged producers from poor countries to receive a better deal, through encouraging support for the FAIRTRADE Mark. In order to further this aim by becoming a Fairtrade Town, the following 6 goals, headlined hereunder, must be realised. When they are, a signed and dated certificate will be presented by Fairtrade Mark Ireland to the Town/City.

The FAIRTRADE Mark is the independent” guarantee that products carrying the ‘Mark’ have been produced according to internationally agreed Fairtrade standards.

Fairtrade Mark Ireland awards a consumer label, the FAIRTRADE Mark, to products which meet internationally recognised standards of Fairtrade. Supported by Amnesty International, Actionaid Ireland, Christian Aid, Comhlámh, Concern, Oxfam, Trócaire, War on Want Northern Ireland, and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, they are a small Third World charity based in Dublin. They are active throughout Ireland via their supporter network of dedicated volunteers, involved in the promotion of Fairtrade, the Fairtrade Towns project, and FAIRTRADE Mark products.

There are now 61 towns working around Ireland on Fairtrade Town campaigns. Of these, 31 towns & cities have been awarded status; Athlone, Ballymun, Bandon, Bantry, Belfast, Bray, Carlow, Castlebar, Clonakilty, Cork, Dublin, Galway, Greystones, Kilkenny, Kinsale, Limerick, Maynooth, Mullingar, Newry, Portlaoise, Thurles, Waterford, Westport, Wexford, Tubbercurry, Skibbereen, Baltinglass, Ennis, Newbridge, Roscommom, and Sligo.

Ireland’s Most Creative Fairtrade Town, Thurles, was awarded Ireland’s Most Creative Fairtrade Town in October 2007. The award was made by Michael Kit, Minister of State at the Dept of Foreign Affairs at a reception in Dublin Castle. In making the decision, Fairtrade Mark Ireland decided to select Thurles due to the number, variety and imaginative nature of the events run by the Thurles Fairtrade Town Committee. We were also close runners-up to Kinsale who won the overall award for Best Fairtrade Town.

Thurles Fairtrade Town Committee

Thurles was awarded Fairtrade Town status in December 2005 following an eighteen- month campaign supported by many volunteers. There are 9 members of the steering group, which is chaired by the current Mayor of Thurles. The steering group meets every two months and has adopted the following mission statement in June 2007 :

“The mission of the Thurles Fairtrade Town Committee is to promote Thurles as a Fairtrade Town, to promote awareness and understanding of Fairtrade principles and to encourage purchase of Fairtrade products. By organising a wide range of promotional activities throughout the year, the Committee offers information and encouragement in order to motivate schools, businesses, retailers, organisations and the general public to choose Fairtrade products.”

Fairtrade in Thurles Shops

Thirteen Thurles retailers stock over 40 Fairtrade brands and consumers can choose from a wide selection of Fairtrade products including 10 chocolate brands, 9 coffee brands, 6 tea brands, 6 brands of fruit juices, 3 brands of sugar plus a variety of bananas, pastas, jams, cocoa, biscuits and snacks. They can also buy Fairtrade Beans, Chutney, Curry Paste, Dried fruits, Flapjacks, Herbs, Ice cream, Muesli, Nuts, Spices and Sweets.

Fairtrade in Thurles Restaurants

Six catering outlets in Thurles serve Fairtrade coffee and tea exclusively: Hayes Hotel, St. Patrick’s College canteen, Tara Restaurant, The Runner Bean, Tipperary Institute canteen and the Topaz service station.

Fairtrade in Thurles Businesses

Dew Valley Foods Ltd is our flagship business since 2005 and they estimate that the staff drink 1500 cups of Fairtrade tea every week.  Nine other businesses in town serve Fairtrade tea and coffee in their offices.

Fairtrade in Thurles Schoolsupsch

The level of awareness amonst students in Thurles about Fairtrade issues is very high and the challenge is to find new angles and present new information. Five schools in Thurles support Fairtrade in the classroom and in the staff room. We correspond with teachers in all schools at the start of the academic year regarding opportunities to discuss how Fairtrade could be incorporated in the relevant SPHE, CSPE and Transition year classes as well as going through the criteria to become/remain a Fairtrade school. Where possible, we arrange a date to visit to the school to meet the various classes.

Fairtrade in the Local Media

Every two weeks there is an article in the Tipperary Star, which keeps the reader informed and up to date on local Fairtrade activities as well as national and international Fairtrade developments.

Tipperary – Irelands First Fairtrade County

Since Sept 2006 we have also initiated the Tipperary Fairtrade County Campaign, the goal of which is for Tipperary to become Ireland’s first Fairtrade County. The steering group is offering mentoring support to 9 other towns in North and South Tipperary to enable each of them to become Fairtrade Towns. As soon as Carrick-on-Suir, Cahir, Cashel, Cloughjordan, Clonmel, Nenagh, Roscrea, Templemore and Tipperary Town have achieved Fairtrade Town status, Tipperary will be declared a Fairtrade County!

Getting Involved

We welcome volunteers who can offer a few hours of their time every year to support Fairtrade in Thurles. For information on upcoming events please phone our Secretary on (0504) 26488 or email una.johnston@mementomori.ie.

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