Ennis’ Renewal Purple Flag assessment will take place this evening reviewing the evening and night-time between 5pm and 5am.
Purple Flag aims to raise the standard and broaden the appeal of night-time destinations. Just as Blue Flag is an indicator of a clean beach, Purple Flag is an indicator of where to go for a good night out.
Launched by the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) in England in October 2009, the scheme has now spread to over 50 town and city centres in UK, Ireland and now also Sweden and Canada. Ennis and Dublin were the first places in the Republic to apply for Purple Flag and making Ennis the pioneering Irish town to hold a Purple Flag. Following in its footsteps a total of 10 Irish towns and cities have now achieved Purple Flag Accreditation and a further 4 are currently applying.
This evening, two assessors will be visiting Ennis to review the progress the town has made since its initial accreditation. A full re-application has been submitted to ATCM and the Ennis Purple Flag Working Group have done their own Self-Assessment a month ago. Spokesperson for the group Alec Fleming, CEO of Ennis chamber said: “We would be delighted to get the support of all businesses in Ennis for the evening and night of the assessment. In particular, if businesses could inform their frontline staff about Purple Flag outlining the two key descriptors of the awards ‘vibrant’ and ‘well-managed’ in the evening and night.”
Chairman of Purple Flag Working Group Johnny Flynn added: “With now 10 Purple Flags all over Ireland, the appreciation for the award is growing and we are having great support both within the business community, from the council and our Ennis Gardai. With over 50 Purple Flag towns and cities in UK many of which have direct flight connections into Shannon, this accreditation is a valuable tourism excellence indicator for the town of Ennis.” He continued by saying: “ In recent weeks and months this has been strengthened again by more businesses joining us for our informal Purple Flag Forum meetings. I would like to thank everyone involved and I believe that with all the hard work being done we have a fair shot at retaining our flag and growing the partnership in the evening and night-time further.”
“While we at the Cloister are relatively new still to the Purple Flag group and the concept itself, the benefits of working together can be immense and I believe that we are still only at the beginning of a great journey for the town of Ennis.” Said owner of The Cloister Restaurant, Dermot Fetton. He continued by saying: ”It is a great pleasure to host our assessors in for dinner the evening of the assessment and we hope that our contribution will support Ennis’ renewal bid for Purple Flag.”
Director of AAA Taxi’s Martin White said: “I think can speak for most taxi drivers in Ennis by saying that the work Ennis Gardai are doing is fantastic job and we wouldn’t be able to do without them in particular on a Saturday night. Any work to strengthen the partnership in the evening and night-time is welcome and I believe that Purple Flag is a great symbol showcasing all the work being done. We have a friendly, vibrant and safe town that is well worthy of this great accreditation.”
Initiated by Cllr Johnny Flynn and subsequently proposed by the Municipal Policy Committee, the Purple Flag initiative was strongly supported by Ennis Town Council. In the new draft Ennis and Environs Plan it forms a core part of their evening and night-time strategy showing the strong support of Clare County Council through the Municipal District of Ennis following on from the previous work of Ennis Town Council.
The Purple Flag accreditation is based on a total of 30 criteria that town centres must meet in order to obtain the award. These criteria are summarised under the headings Wellbeing in terms of safety and care, Movement meaning transport and car parking, Appeal of restaurants, bars, other venues including arts and culture, Place in terms of location and design and most importantly the Policy Envelope which shows amongst other things a collaboration between sectors, agencies, service providers and policy-makers.