Donegal has achieved the highest number of Blue Flag beach awards of any county in the country.
At an awards ceremony in Dublin today, thirteen of Donegal’s beaches were awarded the prestigious Blue Flag award by Phil Hogan T.D., Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government.
The Blue Flag is one of the world’s most recognised eco-labels and only beaches that meet specific criteria relating to water quality, beach management, environmental information and safety services achieve this accolade. As a pre-requisite, the bathing water at Blue Flag beaches must meet the highest standards of bathing water quality.
A total of thirteen Blue Flags were awarded to Donegal which places the county at the top of the rankings with the most Blue Flags in the country. The Council is delighted to have achieved its objective to lead the country.
Blue Flags were awarded to Bundoran, Rossnowlagh, Murvagh, Fintra, Narin (Portnoo), Carrickfinn, Killahoey (Dunfanaghy), Marblehill, Portsalon (Magherawarden), Lisfannon, Shroove, Culdaff and Downings.
Six beaches achieved Green Coast award status. This acknowledges beaches that have a clean environment, excellent water quality and good beach management but lack the built infrastructure required to meet the criteria set out for Blue Flag status.
Donegal’s six Green Coast awarded beaches for 2013 are Ballyheirnan (Fanad), Rathmullan, Drumnatinney (Falcarragh), Magheroarty, Port Arthur and Dooey.
Lady’s Bay in Buncrana has not retained the Green Coast beach for 2013 as it did not achieve the requisite water quality standard based on the new stringent water quality testing regime which is based on test results averaged over a four year period.
Cllr Martin Harley, Chairman of the Water & Environment Strategic Policy Committee, said the achievement would boost tourism.
“At a time when the Council is actively promoting Donegal as a tourism destination, having the highest number of Blue Flags can only assist in promoting Donegal as an excellent destination for visitors.
“Donegal County Council will continue to work closely with local communities in maintaining and retaining the Blue Flag and Green Coast awards for Donegal and will re-double our efforts in 213 to ensure that these prestigious awards are retained and the award for Lady’s Bay is restored. The Council would also appeal to all beach users to enjoy this wonderful and valuable resource. All visitors to the County’s beaches are asked to minimise their negative impact on the beach environment and always take the belongings and rubbish home.”
For more information of Donegal’s Blue Flag and Green Coast beaches visit www.govisitdonegal.com