Ireland's night-time 'excellence' lauded as ten towns win Purple Flags
Galway, Mullingar, Sligo, Waterford and Westport won Purple Flags this week, bringing to ten the totel number of flag-holders in Ireland.
Purple Flags are awarded to towns and cities judged to meet certain criteria for vibrant and safe evening and night time economies.
Existing flag holders include Dublin's Creative Quarter and Dame District; Ennis, Co. Clare; Bray, Co. Wicklow; Killarney, Co. Kerry and Ballina, Co. Mayo.
The new awardees received their accreditations at the first Irish Purple Flag Awards Ceremony in Dublin this Monday, joining existing flag-holders to bring the Irish total to ten.
Purple Flags are the "gold standard" for night-time destinations, the organisation claims.
Awardees must meet 30 different criteria, including minimum thresholds of decreasing crime statistics, appropriate transport, a vibrant appeal, a stimulating destination and a strong partnership.
Purple Flags were launched in Ireland just two years ago, but the country is now "firmly on the map in terms of excellence in the evening and night-time," according to Jonny Birkett of the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM), which launched the Purple Flag scheme in 2009.
Since then, a total of 50 flags have been awarded in the UK.
"Those towns that are well structured and organised will be best placed to meet the serious challenges that we will face in the coming years," added Richard Guiney, Chairman of Purple Flag Ireland.
"We are seeing a closer alignment of the retail and hospitality industries and the lines between the traditional day and evening economies are blurring," he said. "Towns that don’t listen to their citizens and adapt to their needs will in all likelihood fade in the new paradigm."
Since gaining Purple Flag recognition, Dublin’s Creative Quarter and Dame District has experienced "double digit footfall growth", Purple Flag Ireland says.
The awards require annual renewal. Expressions of interest for the 2015 programme are being accepted until Tuesday, February 17th, at www.atcm.org.