14 Blue Flags have been awarded to Kerry. A total of 141 awards were presented by the Minister for the Environment Simon Coveney, at a ceremony held in Dublin earlier. Nationally, 85 Blue Flags have been awarded, which is one less than 2015. The Blue Flag is one of the world’s most recognised eco-labels; bathing water at these beaches must meet the highest standards of bathing water quality. The programme aims to raise environmental awareness and promote sound environmental practices and behaviours among beach and marina users. Kerry’s 13 Blue Flag beaches have all retained their flags this year – the highest number in the country alongside Donegal. They are Ballinskelligs, Ballybunion North and South, Banna, Ballyheigue, Derrynane, Fenit, Inch, Kells, Maherabeg, Ventry, White Strand and Rossbeigh. Also today for the first time since 2003 Fenit Marina has secured a Blue Flag. A Green Coast Flag has been awared to Béal Bán Beach in Ballyferriter. This is awarded where there is promotion and facilitation of coastal clean-up initiatives and where there are improvements in Ireland’s coastal environment. Both the Cathaoirleach of Kerry County Council, Cllr Pat McCarthy and the local authority’s Chief Executive Moira Murrell have welcomed the awards adding the county is continuing to set a high standard.