All of Inishowen’s Blue Flag beaches have retained their status this year.
Lisfannon, Shroove and Culdaff joined 10 other beaches in Donegal, to ensure the county remained at joint top of the rankings with Co. Kerry in having the most Blue Flags in the country.
An Taisce - The National Trust for Ireland in cooperation with Kerry County Council held the 2015 International Blue Flag and Green Coast Awards Ceremony last Thursday on Ballinskelligs Beach, Co. Kerry.
The awards were presented by Mr. Alan Kelly TD, Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government.
The 13 Blue Flags in Donegal were awarded to Bundoran, Rossnowlagh, Murvagh, Fintra, Naran (Portnoo), Carrickfinn, Killahoey (Dunfanaghy), Marblehill, Portsalon (Magherawarden), Lisfannon, Shroove, Culdaff and Downings.
Donegal County Council said it is “delighted” with this outcome “considering the more stringent qualifying conditions and local difficulties arising from recent storms.”
Seamus Neely, Chief Executive of Donegal County Council said: “At a time when the Council is actively promoting Donegal as a tourism destination, having the joint highest number of Blue Flags can only assist in promoting Donegal as an excellent destination for visitors.
“The Blue Flag Award is the definitive international beach award recognised in 46 countries as an assurance of beach cleanliness and safety. As a pre-requisite, the bathing water at Blue Flag beaches must meet the highest standards of bathing water quality.”
In addition to the Blue Flag awards five more awards were achieved by Donegal beaches.
The Green Coast award acknowledges beaches that have a clean safe 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.
While none of these are located in Inishowen, Donegal’s five Green Coast awarded beaches for 2015 are Ballyheirnan (Fanad), Drumnatinney (Falcarragh), Magheroarty, Port Arthur and Dooey.
Rathmullan beach lost its Green Coast Award this year.
Seamus Neely added that, “Donegal County Council will continue to work closely with local communities in maintaining and retaining the awards for Donegal and “will continue our efforts in 2015 to ensure that these prestigious awards are retained.”