The award represents high standards in water quality, environmental information and education, environmental management and safety, services and facilities.
The Flags were presented by Mr. John Gormley T.D., Minister for the Environment Heritage and Local Government at Velvet Strand, Portmarnock, Co Dublin.
The Clare beaches in receipt of Blue Flag Awards are Fanore, Lahinch, White Strand (near Miltown Malbay), Kilkee, Cappa beach in Kilrush, White Strand (near Doonbeg), Ballycuggeran and Mountshannon.
Speaking following today’s award ceremony, Councillor Tony Mulcahy, Mayor of Clare, said he was delighted that County Clare had successfully retained all eight Blue Flags.
The Mayor added: “The retention of all eight Blue Flag Awards is extremely welcome considering the huge increase in the numbers of people using our beaches compared to previous years.”
“More and more people are swapping foreign holidays for domestic breaks and this has increased pressure on communities and the local authority to maintain and improve facilities at our beaches. As Mayor of Clare, I am very encouraged by the continued assistance given to Clare Local Authorities by local communities across the county in ensuring that the high environmental standards at our beaches have been achieved”, he explained.
Councillor Patricia McCarthy, Chair of the Environment and Water Services Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) said the Blue Flag Awards were hugely important for tourism and community life in County Clare.
“Local beaches and marinas play an important part in the lives of coastal communities and tourists alike, providing opportunities for walking, swimming, water sports and fishing to mention just a few”, she said.
Councillor McCarthy urged local communities as well as visitors to the county’s beaches to play their part in ensuring Clare successfully retains all eight Blue Flag Awards in 2011.
“When visiting our beaches I would ask everybody to please take responsibility for their litter”, she concluded.
The Blue Flag programme works towards sustainable development at beaches and marinas through strict criteria dealing environmental education and information, water quality, safety and services, and environmental management. To gain a blue flag, beaches have to meet 23 imperative and 4 guideline beach criteria. Marinas must meet 19 imperative and 4 guideline marina criteria.
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