Donegal has retained all 13 of its Blue Flag beaches.
Simon Coveney T.D., Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, presented the 2016 Blue Flag and Green Coast Awards on Thursday at a ceremony at Velvet Strand, Portmarnock, Co. Dublin.
The 13 Donegal beaches retaining their Blue Flags are: Culdaff, Fintra, Downings, Killahoey, Marblehill, Lisfannon, Murvagh, Narin, Magherawarden, Stroove, Rossnowlagh, Carrickfin.
Nationally a total of 141 awards were presented for beaches and marinas in 14 local authorities around the country.
The Blue Flag is an international award for beach excellence, which is operated in Ireland by An Taisce with support from the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. The award is presented to beaches and marinas which have excellent water quality and which achieve high standards across a wide range of other criteria including environmental education, management of the environment, safety and other services.
The Blue Flag Programme has been operating in Ireland since 1988, and this year 85 Blue Flags are being awarded, 79 to beaches and 6 to marinas. The Minister noted that “while the quality of Ireland’s bathing water remains very high, we must not become complacent. We must continue to invest in improving water services infrastructure so as to improve the quality of our waters. This will support the great effort being put into the Blue Flag Programme by the local authorities and coastal communities.”
*Rossnowlagh, one of 13 beaches to retain its Blue Flag status in Donegal.