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27/02/2024 - Donegal County Council Wins the Most Inclusive Project Award for Visionary Beach Accessibility Project at LAMA Awards 2024


Donegal County Council has been honoured with the prestigious All Ireland Community and Council LAMA Award for its project, "A Vision for Gold Standard Beach Accessibility"


According to John G Mc Laughlin, Chief Executive of Donegal County Council, this represents a significant milestone in the ongoing commitment to building an inclusive and accessible county. The recognition of this national award highlights the collaboration between all departments in Donegal County Council and the partnerships with community, tourism, and business organisations. 


The objective of this project is to overcome the barriers that exist for many people and establish enhanced opportunities for beach accessibility. Therefore, identifying a systematic approach to achieving this goal across the county.


As the initiative has evolved, infrastructural improvements have been completed and further enhanced by mobility equipment at suitable locations. This includes the provision of 15 beach wheelchairs, mobility walkers, installation of boardwalks, beach mats, seating areas and viewpoints. Alongside this, is the ongoing initiative to establish ‘Changing Place’ facilities at select beach locations, catering for individuals with higher level of need. Notably, Donegal is actively striving for recognition at Narin Portnoo as Ireland’s First Age Friendly Beach.


We recognise that this is work in progress, a lot done, lots more to do.


Cathaoirleach, Martin Harley extended his congratulations to all those involved in this achievement and commended Donegal County Council staff, the local communities and his fellow Elected Members for their continued support of these initiatives. 


Accessibility audits of five blue flag beaches, funded by Donegal County Council’s Sláintecare Healthy Communities Programme, have been a significant part of this process. They provide a roadmap for short, medium, and long-term actions. These audits serve as a template for identifying and addressing accessibility barriers across all beaches in the county.


Michael McGarvey, Director of Service for Water and Environment acknowledged the importance of creating healthier and more inclusive communities, that can be enjoyed by everybody regardless of their ability. He highlighted how the resources within our locality greatly impact our overall health and wellbeing, and he reaffirmed his ongoing commitment to this project.


In addition, Donegal County Council was acknowledged nationally for other shortlisted projects in the following categories.

-          Best Tourism: Shoulder Season Tourism Campaign

-          Best Enterprise & Start Up Hub: Disrupt by The Sea

-          Community Volunteer: Paul Dawson

-          Best Communications: #BuyDonegal23

-          Best Green Sustainable: Inishowen Rivers Trust


These projects represent the diverse range of initiatives, dedication to making a positive impact and showcase the spirit of innovation within Donegal.