Fountainstown Awarded Coveted Blue Flag
Writes Ciaran Dineen
For the first time in over 30 years, Fountainstown has been awarded a Blue Flag by An Taisce, an accolade that is only given to beaches that are deemed to have an excellent quality of water.
The last time the local tourist attraction had blue flag status was way back in 1991. It is testament to the hard work from volunteers in the area who help to ensure that Fountainstown is a clean, friendly and safe place to visit.
Commenting on the news was Cllr Audrey Buckley (FF), who has spent many years cleaning up local beaches, and was heavily involved in the ‘Take 3 for the Sea’ initiative.
Speaking to the Carrigdhoun Newspaper, Cllr Buckley said, “this is something that just hasn’t happened all of a sudden, this has taken years of work from many volunteers. There are so many stringent processes you have to go through to get a Blue Flag so it is a testament of the area that it is a clean beach. They are there, day in day out picking litter, applying for funds, they are just amazing. Of course with Take 3 for the Sea we are part of it as well so we are so, so proud.”
Overall, the number of Blue Flag beaches in Ireland has increased by two to 85, with seven beaches that didn’t feature last year getting the award this year.
The Blue Flag is one of the world’s most recognised eco-labels. Beaches and marinas that achieve this accolade must comply with a specific set of criteria relating to water quality, information provision, environmental education, safety and beach management.
Each year Blue Flag is awarded to over 4500 beaches, marinas and sustainable boating tourism operators in 49 countries globally. Beaches are awarded for the bathing season (June 1st to September 15th in Ireland) and marinas are awarded for up to 12 months, depending on their period of operation.
The Minister for Heritage Malcolm Noonan presented the awards last week. “This year celebrates 35 years of the Blue Flag as an international programme and during that time the Blue Flag has become an internationally recognised symbol of high standards in water quality, environmental management, environmental education and safety,” he said.
“I am pleased to be presenting 95 blue flags and 62 green coast awards today and want to commend the great efforts made by local authorities, An Taisce, coastal communities and volunteers for their work around the country.”