DONEGAL with 13, has the highest number of Blue Flag beaches in Ireland it was revealed at an awards ceremony in Dublin yesterday (Thursday).
Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan TD congratulated the county on achieving the top ranking.
Donegal County Council is delighted to have achieved its objective to lead the country.
The 13 Blue Flags were awarded to Bundoran, Rossnowlagh, Murvagh, Fintra, Narin (Portnoo), Carrickfinn, Killahoey (Dunfanaghy), Marblehill, Portsalon (Magherawarden), Lisfannon, Shroove, Culdaff and Downings. However the Ladies Bay in Buncrana lost its Green Coast Award this year.
While Donegal celebrates achieving the most number of Blue Flag beaches the rest of the country actually lost 13 Blue Flags this year because of water quality.
“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,” the minister said.
In addition to the Blue Flag awards six more awards were achieved by Donegal beaches.
The Green Coast award acknowledges beaches that have a clean environment, excellent water quality and good beach management.
They may not have the built infrastructure required to meet the criteria set out for Blue Flag status however they are exceptional places to visit and enjoy our rich coastal heritage and diversity.
Donegal’s six Green Coast awarded beaches for 2013 are Ballyheerin (Fanad), Rathmullan, Drumnatinney (Falcarragh), Magheraroarty, Port Arthur and Dooey.
“We are disappointed that Ladies Bay has not retained the Green Coast beach award 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 4 year period,” a spokesperson said.