At a ceremony in Bray, County Wicklow on Monday 21st May 2018, 12 of Donegal’s beaches received a Blue Flag, recognising them as among the top beaches in Ireland. In addition to this, Greencastle Marina retained its blue flag which was achieved for the first time last year.
12 Blue Flags were awarded to beaches at Bundoran, Rossnowlagh, Murvagh, Fintra, Narin (Portnoo), Carrickfinn, Killahoey (Dunfanaghy), Marblehill, Portsalon (Magherawarden), Shroove, Culdaff and Downings.
Meanwhile Ballyheirnan (Fanad), Drumnatinney (Falcarragh), Magheroarty, and Dooey each achieved the Green Coast award again this year.
The Blue Flag programme aims to raise environmental awareness and promote sound environmental management of beaches, marinas and inland bathing waters around the world. The 83 Irish beaches and 7 marinas that have achieved this accolade must adhere to specific criteria related to water quality, information provision, environmental education, safety and site management.
Speaking following the announcement Cathaoirleach Cllr. Gerry McMonagle said “this achievement represents our profound commitment to complying with the strict standards set by the Blue Flag Programme. An important part of the programme is about connecting communities with their surroundings and encouraging them to learn more about their environment. This commitment to an environmentally sustainable approach is also the cornerstone of our strategy for the development of the tourism sector in Donegal”.
Seamus Neely, Chief Executive of Donegal County Council said “we are delighted to have received 13 Blue Flags and 4 Green Coast awards for Donegal and this includes a Blue Flag for Greencastle Marina. We all know that achieving Blue Flag status and indeed a Green Coast award is no easy task, it requires ongoing dedication and commitment from everyone involved and in this regard I would like to pay tribute to the work of my own staff and indeed to the support and commitment of the elected members as well as the co-operation that we get from local communities and voluntary organisations throughout the year.”