Open all hours — Brand Galway gets all night boost with Purple Flag award

Brand Galway has received a significant boost with the news the city has received the Purple Flag award. This prestigious accolade is given to cities and towns which meet or surpass the standards of excellence in managing their evening and night-time economy. With the award, Galway has proved itself to be an entertaining, enjoyable, and diverse place to visit after dark as well as during the day.

The benefits to Galway of receiving this accolade are wide ranging. There is an improved perception of Purple Flag towns and cities. They also attract more visitors and have lower levels of crime and anti-social behaviour.

The city centre passed a rigorous programme called Purple Flag academy to be deemed worthy of the designation. The accreditation process is similar to the Green Flag Award for parks and Blue Flag for beaches. The programme which began in May last year included workshops, self-assesement, and a final application at the end of last year. The award is presented by ATCM, The Association of Town and City Management, and two independent assessors travelled to Galway at night time in December to investigate if the city met the Purple Flag criteria.

Minimum thresholds for receiving the accolade include being a stimulating destination, decreasing crime stats, and having appropriate transport available. The city passed all 30 criteria and was particularly commended for showing strong evidence of leadership and a high instance of business engagement. Galway’s Alcohol Strategy - which was put in place to prevent and reduce alcohol related harm - was recommended to others applying as a good example of joined up strategic work.

This announcement is further good news for Galway following its designation last November as a UNESCO City of Film. It is one of only five cities in the world to be awarded this much sought after status. In addition to this, earlier last year it was crowned as Best Overall Micro City in Europe by The Financial Times.

Mayor of Galway Donal Lyons has welcomed the latest accolade which he says is another ‘bonus point’ for the area. He believes the Purple Flag is something that will add to Galway’s potential to be crowned the 2020 European Capital of Culture. “It is a very good news story. It is all about broadening the city centre’s appeal to an even wider audience. I would like to congratulate everybody who was involved in getting this designation, particularly Galway City Council, The Chamber of Commerce and the local business community. All credit must go to those who put in a fantastic combined effort, these things do not just happen by accident.’’

Mayor Lyons says when the adjucators for the award visited the city in December they were extremely impressed. “The whole idea was to show off Galway as the welcoming and friendly place it is. The judges could not have picked a nicer night to visit, it was lovely dry night, which really displayed Galway at its best. The Cope volunteers were doing their sleepout, the Christmas market was on, town was particularly busy coming up to Christmas and there was - as always - a fantastic atmosphere in town. One thing the judges were particularly impressed with was the number and the quality of the buskers performing on Shop Street. They were also astounded at the level of co-operation between the local stakeholders like the city council, the business community, and the Gardai.’’

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