Sligo is celebrating being honoured with a Purple Flag, the internationally accredited award for excellence in the night-life of a city.

Formally recognised at the first Irish Awards Ceremony in Dublin on 10th February 2015, Sligo joins four other newly accredited Irish towns (Galway, Mullingar, Waterford and Westport) bringing the overall number of Irish Purple Flags to a milestone of ten.

They are delighted to be the first city in the Northwest to join over 50 towns and cities across the UK and Ireland who have been awarded Purple Flag status for achievements in helping people have a great night out. The award follows their completion of a rigorous 11 months of hard work and commitment.


The Purple Flag Academy programme included workshops, a self-assessment, a comprehensive application submission and an independent adjudication.

The Sligo application was funded by the Sligo BID via the European Union’s INTERREG IVA Programme, Sligo County Council and local businesses.

The town was particularly commended for its diversity of venues that could compete with larger urban areas, the strength of the partnership that worked on the project and support given from Sligo County Council.

Similar to the Blue Flag for beaches, the Purple Flag Award aims to raise the standard and broaden the appeal of town and city centres in the evenings and at night. The scheme is managed by the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) working alongside the Purple Flag Advisory Committee Purple Flag.

Accredited towns and cities have proven that they are welcoming to everyone, offer safe ways for visitors to travel home after dark and provide a good mix of venues. Purple Flag towns and cities benefit from more visitors, lower crime and anti-social behaviour, and improved perceptions of centres.

Sligo Town Centre Manager Gail McGibbon, and head of the Sligo Purple Flag Committee commented: “We are delighted that Sligo has been awarded the Purple Flag status in recognition of our dedicated efforts and investment in the enhancement of our night time economy. We are very proud to fly the Purple Flag, reflecting the strength of on-going partnerships and engagement with residents. We look forward to promoting the Purple Flag, and will use it as a stepping stone in our continuing development of a vibrant and safe night time environment for our residents and visitors alike.”

ATCM Programme Manager Jonny Birkett, speaking on behalf of the assessment panel commented, “It is fantastic for the local community, and for Sligo to be awarded a Purple Flag. Sligo has worked very hard to create a safe and well-managed evening and night time environment, with a variety of social activities on offer for residents of all ages. The panel was particularly impressed with the town’s outstanding diversity of venues and the quality and commitment of the partnership. The support given by the council was outlined as exemplary and is to be commended.”

Richard Guiney, Chairman of Purple Flag Ireland and CEO of DublinTown said, “Internationally the evening and night time economies of towns and cities are becoming increasingly important.

We are seeing a closer alignment of the retail and hospitality industries, and the lines between the traditional day and evening economies are blurring. If our towns and cities are to survive and thrive in the 21st century, they must meet the expectations of both visitors and our indigenous population.

To achieve that goal our town centres must be professionally managed and promoted. Those towns that are well structured and organised will be best placed to meet the serious challenges that we will face in the coming years. Towns that don’t listen to their citizens and adapt to their needs will in all likelihood fade in the new paradigm.

Since gaining Purple Flag recognition Dublin’s Creative Quarter and Dame District have experienced double digit footfall growth. This experience is shared with other Purple Flag holders. Purple Flag holders consistently outperform other towns and cities.

I am honoured to be guiding and supporting the Purple Flag concept in Ireland. The concept is new here but it is capturing the Irish imagination. We can re-invigorate our towns and cities across the country but only if we create a safe and welcoming environment. Purple Flag offers a tested road map to achieve that goal.”


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