Who can apply?
For beaches, the municipality can apply for the Blue Flag. For marinas, the marina owner can apply. For sustainable boating tour operators, it is the company who applies for its boats.
The responsible local authority or marina operator files the application form (with enclosed documentation) and submits it to the National Operator. The National Jury evaluates applications for compliance with the Blue Flag criteria and gives an approval or rejection on the national level. The national jury in Ireland is made of experts from numerous different fields with the aim of covering all the criteria. The National Jury is made up of representatives of the following organisations: An Taisce; The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage; The Disability Federation of Ireland; The Environmental Protection Agency; Fáilte Ireland, The National Parks Wildlife Service; Sailing Ireland; Trinity College Dublin; University College Dublin; and Water Safety Ireland.
Applications and proposed dispensation cases are forwarded to the International Jury for consideration. The International Jury carries out an evaluation and decides which beaches, marinas and tourism boats to award the Blue Flag for the season.
To be eligible for the Blue Flag a beach/marina has to fulfill all imperative requirements. In addition, the fulfillment of a maximum number of guideline criteria for beaches and marinas is taken into account. It is necessary for beach applicants to include bathing water data from the previous 4 seasons with Blue Flag applications.
Awarded for one season
All Blue Flags are awarded for one season only. By renewing awards each season, the programme ensures that beaches/marinas are constantly living up to the criteria.
Continuous Compliance with the criteria during the season
The local authority is obliged to ensure compliance with the criteria whenever flying the Blue Flag. During the season, the National Environmental Protection Agency monitors the bathing water quality data. The National Organisation performs control visits of all awarded sites at least once per season. Furthermore, Blue Flag International send their international control visit team to conduct announced or unannounced control visits at Blue Flag sites. Visitors and guests at Blue Flag beaches, marinas or boats are also good observers of compliance with the Blue Flag criteria, and we always welcome and investigate constructive complaints. Observed non-compliances with imperative criteria, require the withdrawal of the Blue Flag.
When owners/operators of beaches, marinas and boats are awarded the right to display the Blue Flag, it is because they have satisfied FEE that they complied at the time of award with a number of stringent environmental, educational, safety and accessibility criteria. Following the award, the owners/operators accept full responsibility to ensure continued compliance with all of these criteria. While FEE may carry out checks of sites from time to time, neither FEE, nor any of its officers, members or jury members accept any responsibility to any person in the event of any non-compliance.