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Friday, 1st March 2024

Drogheda maintains international award for evening and night-time economy

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Unfurling Drogheda's new purple flag this morning were (from left): Trevor Connolly (Love Drogheda BID CEO), Collette Farrell (Droichead Arts Centre Director), Mark Davies (NTE Advisor for Drogheda), Yvette Mc Cormack (An Garda Siochana), Hubert Murphy (Drogheda and District Chamber president), Sarah Taaffe (The Punt Pub and Drogheda Festivals committee) and Grainne Berrill (Geiran Implementation Board).

Drogheda has retained its Purple Flag accreditation in recognition of the town’s commitment to a safe and vibrant evening and night-time economy.

The prestigious international award (similar to the Blue Flag for Beaches) identifies cities and towns that strive for continuous improvement to the evening activities, from 5pm to 5am, and consider all aspects of safety and variety on offer.

Destinations that are awarded the Purple Flag demonstrate a variety of evening activities, restaurants, bars as well as high standards of the overall experience of locals that contribute to the ENTE (Evening Night-Time Economy).

The Purple Flag accreditation is managed by the Association of Town and City Management which has awarded over 70 flags across the UK and Ireland.

The Purple Flag team in Drogheda consists of representatives from An Garda Síochana, Drogheda Vintners, Droichead Arts Centre, Geiran Implementation Board, Boomerang Youth Café, Hospitality Venues, Louth County Council, Drogheda and District Chamber and Love Drogheda BID.

Grainne Berrill, of the Drogheda Implementation Board, said: One of the actions in the Drogheda Implementation Plan is to make Drogheda a healthier, more welcoming town. Achieving Purple Flag accreditation, which is benchmarked internationally, showcases Drogheda as a welcoming, safe place.

“The fact that we have work collectively to maintain this accreditation means that it is an ongoing process of creating a positive experience for both locals and visitors accessing the town in the evenings and at night-time and improving that experience.

One project that contributed to the success of the Purple Flag accreditation is the vastly popular Lú Festival of Light, a joint project between Louth County Council, Failte Ireland and Love Drogheda BID, which is a family-friendly, positive evening festival that encourages families of all ages to get out and experience Drogheda in the evenings.

Huge leaps have also been made regarding a collaborative approach by businesses and other community groups. “The Purple Flag is a key endorsement of what we are doing right in Drogheda and to achieve it is a glowing tribute to the many people who make this town a top-quality destination to visit and reside in. We are a vibrant town that now has the award to prove it” said Chamber President Hubert Murphy.

Love Drogheda BID CEO, Trevor Connolly, stated: “We are delighted to hear that Drogheda has retained its Internationally recognized Purple Flag Award for its dedication to providing a safe, varied and engaging Evening and Night-Time Economy.

“This accreditation provides assurance to visitors that our town not only offers safety and a huge variety of activities in the evening, excellent bars, pubs and top-notch restaurants but also that there is a dedicated Purple Flag team in Drogheda who work to maintain and improve the ENTE in our town.”

Valerie Sherlock of the Marcy Hotel said she was thrilled, but not surprised” that the hard work of the Purple Flag group has resulted in another successful accreditation.

“The two assessors remarked on the variety and connected nature of the town as a key component in helping to deliver positive change in the evening time economy and have given a series of recommendations for the group to work on over the next year to continue to improve”.

Some notable improvements to the ENTE offering in Drogheda of late include the appointment of a dedicated Evening Night-Time Economy Advisor in Drogheda, Mark Davies who noted that “I am very much look forward to being involved in the future plans of the group, supporting the fantastic partnership we have and continue to develop historic Drogheda as a town of exciting experiences".

Sarah Taaffe, of The Punt pub said: “I think more than ever support for the night time economy is vital. 80% of tourists that visit Ireland visit an Irish pub. There are Irish pubs everywhere in the world and it is a huge draw to Ireland’s largest industry, Tourism.

“I believe achieving and retaining the Purple flag for Drogheda and it’s night time economy is vital. It highlights what we are doing well and keeps us on track with what we can and should improve on” she added.


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