The 2021 Green Flag Awards were announced today with two Cork city parks receiving the international benchmark standard for public park and green space excellence.
Fitzgerald’s Park and Shalom Park were awarded Green Flags in the scheme that aims to encourage the provision of good quality public parks and green spaces that are managed in environmentally sustainable ways.
The Green Flag Award scheme operates across Australia, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
Once again more Green Flag Awards have been secured by Irish parks and gardens than by any country, other than the UK where the scheme originated in 1996.
Another significant milestone was announced today for 2021, with the successful roll-out of Green Heritage Site Accreditation across Ireland.
With the support of the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and the Department of Housing, Local Government, and Heritage, seven Irish Green Flag sites have now also been accredited to Green Heritage Accreditation standard.
Green Heritage Site Accreditation is awarded to public green spaces of historical and cultural significance.
"This scheme is a welcome and important complement to the existing Green Flag Award," Minister of State with responsibility for Heritage, Malcolm Noonan said.
"It celebrates best practice in engagement with multi-layered heritage and reminds us all of our responsibility to appreciate and preserve richness and diversity of the green spaces that surround us."
The Green Flag Awards are judged every year by a peer jury of green space experts, who volunteer their time to visit applicant sites and assess them against eight strict criteria, including horticultural standards, cleanliness, sustainability, and community involvement.
Ireland was today awarded a total of 103 Green Flag sites, comprised of 84 formal public Green Flag Park sites, along with 19 volunteer-run Green Community Sites.