Mr Alan Kelly T.D., Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, today (28 May 2015) welcomed the presentation of 144 beach awards, an increase of 10 on the 2014 number.
Presenting the Blue Flag and Green Coast Awards at a ceremony in Ballinskelligs, Co. Kerry, the Minister expressed satisfaction with the awarding of 86 Blue Flags (81 beaches and 5 marinas) this year. This was an increase of 6 over the 2014 number.
‘I am pleased to say that a total of 144 Blue Flag and Green Coasts awards will be made today. This represents an increase of 10 over the number of awards in 2014 awards. This is testament to the sterling efforts of local authorities, An Taisce and of local communities in ensuring that their beaches meet the standards of excellence required for a Blue Flag or Green Coast Award’, the Minister said
The Minister went on to say that Blue Flags represent excellenceand are internationally recognised. ‘Blue Flags represent excellence. They are a clear signal of quality and are something to be cherished. I am delighted to announce that today we will be awarding a total of 86 Blue Flags; 81 for beaches and five for marinas. A blue flag flying at a particular location means that it has achieved excellent water quality to standards set by European and national Regulations, and a very high grade across a wide range of other criteria, including environmental education, management of the environment, facilities, safety and other services.’
Minister Kelly also stated that ‘Behind each of the 86 recipients lies a team of people who worked hard to make the grade and to each and every one of them I extend my sincere congratulations’.
58 Green Coast Awards were presented for 2015. This represents an increase of 4 on the 2014 number. Minister Kelly said, referring to the Green Coast awards, ‘These also recognise excellence in environmental standards and sustainable management. They generally apply to beaches which do not have the full suite of facilities associated with the Blue Flag. Although visitor numbers to these beaches may not be as high, it is nevertheless important for the environment, the local community and tourists alike that these beaches also achieve high standards.’
An important aspect of the Green Coast Awards is the involvement of Coastcare Volunteer Groups. There are now over 430 active Coastcare groups established throughout the island. The Minister paid tribute to the work of these groups stating that ‘their efforts are fundamental in achieving and maintaining Green Coast status.'
‘Recipients today should be enormously proud of their efforts in achieving these hard won awards’, the Minister concluded.
Source: Department of Environment, Community and Local Government.