The national Tidy Towns initiative is an annual competition organised by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government with the support of the main sponsor SuperValu and many other agencies. The competition involves participating areas being rated on all aspects of their local environment and prizes awarded to the best under many different categories. The overall winner is "Ireland's Tidiest Town". which is announced at a national ceremony in September each year.
With progress monitored and detailed feedback provided year on year, most participants initially enter the competition to generate interest about the environment in their community and create a solid platform on which to raise issues with the relevant authorities. Over time, participants attain a standard where competing for major prizes is within reach. As such it is very much a development programme as much as a competition.