County Clare has once again retained its eight International Blue Flags.
Mr. Phil Hogan, Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government today presented the prestigious awards to Fanore, Lahinch, White Strand (near Miltown Malbay), Kilkee, Cappa beach in Kilrush, White Strand (near Doonbeg), Ballycuggeran and Mountshannon.
Mayor of Clare Councillor Pat Hayes headed up the Clare delegation that attended the 25th anniversary celebrations of An Taisce’s International Blue Flag Awards Ceremony in Portmarnock, County Dublin
The Blue Flag award is a highly respected and recognized eco-label working to bring together the tourism and environmental sectors at local, regional and national levels. The award challenges local authorities and beach operators to achieve high standards in the four main categories of bathing water quality, beach management, environmental education and information provision.
In order to achieve Blue Flag status, beaches are judged against a total of 32 criteria. An Taisce carry out inspections during the bathing season to establish a level of compliance with all the Blue Flag Criteria.
Speaking following today’s ceremony, Mayor Hayes said Clare County Council, in conjunction with local communities and visitors to the County’s beaches, had been rewarded for their ongoing efforts to maintain and further enhance the County’s beaches.
Mayor Hayes continued: “The County’s beaches and marinas play an important part in the lives of coastal communities and visitors alike. They provide opportunities for walking, swimming, water sports and fishing to mention just a few, and make a significant contribution to the local economy. Clare’s eight Blue Flags tell visitors to the County that they can expect to find clean and safe environments when visiting these bathing areas.”
Councillor John Crowe, Chairperson of the Strategic Policy Committee for Environmental and Water Services said he was “encouraged” by the continued assistance given to Clare County Council by local communities across the County in ensuring that the high environmental standards are maintained at the County’s Blue Flag beaches.
“I would urge local communities and tourists to continue to play their part in ensuring that everybody takes responsibility for their litter when visiting our beaches. The responsibility is on all of us to keep our beaches litter-free,” he added.