By Dan Walsh
Wexford coastal areas have performed well in the An Taisce International Blue Flag and Green Coast Award recipients for 2022. The awards were presented by Malcolm Noonan TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Heritage and Electoral Reform at a ceremony on Curracloe Beach on Friday.
Ballymoney North Beach is one of seven beaches nationally not awarded Blue Flag status in 2021, but the good news is that the popular North Wexford resort is flying the flag this year.
Also included are Courtown, Morriscastle, Rosslare Strand, Ballinesker, Rosslare Strand and Carne, while Kilmore Quay Marina and New Ross ‘Three Sisters’ Marina’ were awarded Blue Flag status 2022, in recognition of consistent excellent standards.
The Green Coast awards for Wexford beaches in 2022 are: Cahore Point Beach, Old Bawn Beach, Culleton’s Gap, St Helen’s Bay, Ballyhealy, Cullenstown Strand, Baginbun Beach, Booley Bay and Grange.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Minister Noonan stated that; “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. 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.”
Mr. Ian Diamond, Coastal Awards Manager for An Taisce said; “We were delighted to be welcomed to the Sunny Southeast today for the opportunity to celebrate the beaches and marinas awarded for the 2022 season. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to manage a beach or marina to the excellent standards required by these award programmes. It’s been too long since we’ve had the opportunity to acknowledge these efforts in person, and I would like to thank all in attendance and our hosts Wexford County Council for helping us make today’s event worth the wait.”
The Blue Flag is one of the world’s most recognised eco-labels. The programme aims to raise environmental awareness and promote sound environmental management of beaches, marinas and eco-tourism boats around the world. The 85 Irish beaches and 10 marinas that have achieved this accolade must adhere to specific criteria related to water quality, information provision, environmental education, safety and site management.
The Green Coast Award recognises beaches for their clean environment, excellent water quality and natural beauty. Green Coast Award sites are exceptional places to visit and enjoy our rich coastal heritage and diversity.