DONEGAL has retained Blue Flag status at all 14 locations across the county for the 2023 season.
It has been confirmed the 12 blue flag beaches across the county will retain their status, while Greencastle and Rathmullan Marinas have also secured the award.
The awards were presented by the Minister of State for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Mr. Darragh O’Brien, T.D., at an awards ceremony held on the Shoreline Hotel, overlooking Donabate’s Balcarrick Blue Flag beach in Dublin.
The 12 Blue Flags beaches are at Bundoran, Rossnowlagh, Murvagh, Fintra, Narin (Portnoo), Carrickfinn, Killahoey (Dunfanaghy), Marblehill, Portsalon (Magherawarden), Shroove, Culdaff and Downings
Blue Flags are awarded on the basis of compliance with Blue Flag criteria relating to water quality, facilities for visitors, beach management, environmental education and the provision of information.
The beaches must also pass an in-season beach inspection which are carried out on 100% of all awarded beaches while recommendations of the National and International Blue Flag juries are also considered.
Meanwhile, four further beaches have achieved Green Coast awards. They are Ballyheirnan (Fanad), Drumnatinney (Falcarragh), Magheroarty, and Dooey. The aim of the Green Coast Award is to recognise beaches of high environmental quality.
To achieve the award, beaches must have excellent water quality and have effective and appropriate management to ensure the protection of the natural environment.
Talking about the event, Ms. Cathy Baxter, Director of the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce, said, “We were delighted to celebrate another remarkable year of recognition for all the sites that have been honoured with the Blue Flag and Green Coast Awards for the 2023 season.
“It takes immense dedication and effort to manage a beach or marina to meet the rigorous standards set by these prestigious award programmes, and we extend our warmest congratulations to all the deserving sites that have achieved this remarkable reward,” said Ms Baxter.
Nationally, 159 awards were conferred, marking a notable milestone as two additional sites received the prestigious award this year.
During the ceremony, 84 beaches and 10 marinas in Ireland received the Blue Flag, while 65 beaches were awarded the Green Coast Award.
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