Minister of State for Community Development and Charities Joe O’brien Annouces Six Fingal Parks Received Green Flag Award

23rd September, 2020

Ardgillan Demesne, Malahide Demesne, Millennium Park, Newbridge House and Farm, Santry Demesne recognised as in list of Ireland’s top parks and best gardens.

Minister Joe O’Brien of State for Community Development and Charities and T.D for Fingal, along with An Taisce Environmental Education has announced that six parks in Fingal have received a Green Flag Award. Only awarded for exceeding tough environmental standards in green space management, and excellence of visitor attractions. Ardgillan Demesne, Malahide Demesne, Millennium Park and Newbridge house and farm and Santry Demense received the Green Flag Award for Parks which is the mark of a quality park or green space and is recognised throughout the world.

The 2020 awards were available to public town parks, country parks, gardens, cemeteries, nature parks and green spaces from across the whole country.

This year The Rock Garden in Swords was also recognised as a leading green space receiving a Green Flag Community Award. The Rock Garden is maintained by community groups and the award acknowledges the excellence of the volunteer run community green space.

The Green Flag Community Award extends the Scheme to include community initiatives such as Community Gardens, Community Parks, and Tidy Towns Projects. The coordination of the Green Flag Community Award Scheme is made possible by the support of the Department of Rural and Community Development.

The Minister of State for Community Development and Charities and Fingal TD; Joe O’Brien stated that

“This year we have appreciated the importance of the public parks and gardens within our communities in Fingal probably more than at any other time. They have been a sanctuary for us during Covid_19. Without our public parks and gardens our lives would have been much further reduced and confined.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the hard work put in by park staff, and community volunteers in Fingal. Not only in achieving this Green Flag Success for these six wonderful parks and green spaces, but in maintaining the many parks, gardens, and greens for the benefit of all communities in Fingal. It is a great credit that they largely remained open and well managed at this difficult time.”

The Rock Garden in Swords receiving the Green Flag Community Award is a great example of grassroots involvement and community volunteering that has given us a sustainable green space to enjoy, in the middle of an urban area.

The Green Flag Awards are judged every year by a peer jury of green space experts, who volunteer their time to visit applicant sites and assess them against eight strict criteria, including horticultural standards, cleanliness, sustainability, and community involvement.

Karen Power, Councillor for Balbriggan and Skerries stated,

I think that now our public parks are more valued than ever. During the restrictions as a result of the pandemic the access to our parks and green spaces provided a much-needed boost for our mental health.”

“I for one was so thankful to be able to access the beautiful Ardgillan Demense and I am delighted to see it receive a Green Flag Award, it is a badge of honour for the fantastic amenity. These flags are a sign to the public that Ardgillan boasts the very highest environmental standards which are maintained year-round. It’s a mark of how much love and care there is Ardgillan that it received this green flag.”

One of the 2020 Green Flag Award winning parks in Fingal was also identified by the National Biodiversity Data Centre for an additional Pollinator Project Award. This award is specifically for those Green Flag Parks or Gardens that have made an effort to support the local pollinating insect populations, or to promote their importance. The Pollinator Project Award is jointly run with An Taisce Environmental Education to support the All Ireland Pollinator Plan, and is kindly sponsored by Young’s Nurseries. There are pollinator project awards across different park categories and Millennium Park, Blanchardstown received the High Commended / Special Award. This site features not only pollinator friendly planting and gardening, but also makes a great effort to educate the public and to promote these efforts through its website and social media.