Deputy Mayor, Cllr Aengus O’Rourke, has afforded his support for the development of a plan to attain the Purple Flag standard for Athlone - the gold standard for night time destinations which demonstrates excellence in the management of the evening and night-time economy.
The District Deputy Mayor was addressing his fellow public representatives and local authority executive during the most recent sitting of the Athlone-Moate Municipal District.
“Attaining such a standard with enhance our offering as a growth town in the heart of the Midlands region. Yes, it would require the collaboration of a number of stakeholders with regard to the development of a relevant plan but the achievement of Purple Flag status would be a massive boost to our local night-time economy as they strive to return to a semblance of business normality following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.
“We have a top class hospitality service in Athlone. Now, it is time to attain the accreditation to complement all we have to offer in this blossoming sector.
“I would like to encourage cohesion between the relevant stakeholders - Athlone Chamber of Commerce and An Garda Siochana - to name but two, and in unison with this local authority hopefully we may be able to provide a platform from which Purple Flag status may be attained,” Cllr O’Rourke stated.
Cllr O’Rourke’s thoughts were supported by political party colleague Cllr Frankie Keena who wished to see a swift return to a bustling local night-time economy as was prevalent pre Covid-19.
“This is a worthy motion presented here today by Cllr O’Rourke and if we were to achieve Purple Flag status it would be a stamp of approval for all working within our hospitality industry,” Cllr Keena asserted.
Cllr Vinny McCormack noted that when Mullingar achieved Purple Flag status there was an air of positivity and the local hospitality scene thrived upon the announcement.
“We must liaise with Mullingar Chamber of Commerce with regard to the relevant application process,” Cllr McCormack added.
In response, director of services, Mr Barry Kehoe, stressed the need to have all relevant business owners and stakeholders united for the Purple Flag cause.
“The attainment of a Purple Flag for Athlone would be an important achievement in terms of working towards and demonstrating excellence in the management of the evening and night-time economy.
“Collaboration between the local authority, An Garda Siochana, the Chamber of Commerce and across all sectors of the night time economy is necessary to attain the Purple Flag.
“The Municipal District can investigate the process and liaise with other towns that have achieved the Purple Flag standard to ascertain what is involved in the process and the potential benefits.
“It should be noted that there is an initial and annual fee associated with the Purple Flag, but this would not be an issue,” Mr Kehoe remarked.