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Councillors invited to Purple Flag meeting

THE Purple Flag for a safer and more appealing town centre, is becoming a real possibility for Ennis with the town council accepting an official invitation from the Association of Town Centre Management (ATCM) to explore the initiative in an Irish setting. The invitation was received last week by Councillor Johnny Flynn in his chairing role of the Municipal Policy Committee (MPC).
The ATCM Westminster, London, is Europe’s largest membership organisation dedicated to helping town and city centres realise their natural roles both as prosperous locations for business and investment and as focal points for vibrant, inclusive communities. Members are primarily public private partnerships from across the UK, as well as both public and private sector stakeholders.
Ennis’ recent visioning initiative called Ennis 2020, which was spear-headed by Ennis town councillors and officials and executed by the staff and volunteers from the University of Limerick, found safety is a major concern both for the general public, as well as for the youth of the town. In addition, Ennis people asked for greater variety of night-time activities, combined with safety in the town.
The Purple Flag is a standard that introduces exactly this. The aim of the accreditation for town centres is to provide a safe, appealing, well-managed night out and, as a result, to raise the standard and broaden the appeal of town centres. Purple Flag is the benchmark for good night-time destinations that offer a positive experience to the community and its visitors. Town centres that reach or surpass these standards can fly the flag, providing a golden opportunity to present them in a positive light and in their true colours to consumers, residents and visitors alike.
“Following many months of discussions and exploration of the Purple Flag, I was delighted and honoured when we received the invite to join officials from the ATCM at the end of November to discuss the best ways of implementing the Purple Flag accreditation into the Irish setting.” said Councillor Flynn.
“Both Councillor Paul O’Shea, in his role as chairman of the Joint Policing Committee, and I have been proposed and seconded by the town council to attend the exploratory meeting with the ATCM officials. Hopefully this could lead to a real solution for the concern of safety that the people of Ennis have been voicing. It is our hope to strengthen and support the initiative where we can and hopefully make it a reality for Ennis in the near future.”
Meanwhile, at a meeting of Promote Ennis, a local community initiative and partnership between Ennis Chamber, Ennis Town Council and Shannon Development, the proposal was discussed in detail.
“The chamber and Promote Ennis are fully supportive of the Purple Flag initiative,” said Brian O’Neill, vice-president of the chamber and member of Promote Ennis.
“It is a logical step toward offering safe and more varied night-time entertainment, which would benefit the town, residents, visitors and its businesses greatly.”
Also, the Clare Tourism Forum, who this week hosted their London to Clare event, have welcomed the possibility of this award for Ennis town.
“The Purple Flag accreditation would be a great support to our current campaign toward attracting more visitors from the UK. They could base themselves in a town with an award they know and trust,” said Paul Madden of Temple Gate Hotel, an active member of Clare Tourism Forum.
He continued, “This is a unique opportunity for Ennis as our neighbouring airport in Shannon has connections into four cities that hold Purple Flag status themselves, including Manchester, Glasgow, Bristol and London.”
A working group for safer, more appealing night-time entertainment consisting of representatives from the town council, gardaí and the business community has been meeting in the meantime discussing details with regard to the Purple Flag. Members of this working group are now preparing for the meeting with the ATCM at the end of November.
They will be joined by representatives from Dublin and Kildare, two other town centres that are considering Purple Flag a valuable opportunity.
The meeting is going to focus around the implementation process called Pathfinder, which will make the accreditation specific to the Republic and representatives from Ennis will be offering their support to advance these initial stages as quickly and efficiently as possible.

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