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16/05/2014 - 20th Anniversary of Green-Schools Celebrated in Donegal

Scoil Cholmicille Termon


Schools from Donegal & Northern Ireland attend a Green Flag awards ceremony in Letterkenny to mark 20 years of the Programme.


To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Green-Schools internationally, schools from Donegal in the Republic of Ireland and schools from Northern Ireland came together at a Green Flag awards ceremony in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Letterkenny.


The occasion also marked the 3,000th school to be awarded the Green Flag in the Republic of Ireland which is approximately three quarters of all schools in the country.



2014 Group photo 20th Anniversary of Green-Schools



The Green-Schools programme was originally launched in Denmark, Germany, Greece and the United Kingdom in 1994, with the support of the European Commission and has since grown to include 58 countries and 50,000 schools around the world.


An Taisce is the National Operator for Green-Schools in Ireland and Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful is the National Operator for the programme in Northern Ireland (known in NI as Eco-Schools).


Ireland is considered a best practice example of how to run Green-Schools successfully and a large part of this can be attributed to An Taisce’s partnership with local authorities and support from various public and private sponsors.


Donegal County Council is one of the most progressive local authorities in this regard and has been participating in Green-Schools since An Taisce introduced the programme to Ireland in 1997. This year 62 schools from Donegal were presented with the Green Flag in recognition of their achievements in environmental management and sustainability.


Speaking at the event Mayor of Donegal Cllr Ian McGarvey said: "As Mayor of Donegal it gives me great pleasure to be here today at the Donegal Green-Schools Award Ceremony here in Letterkenny. It is wonderful to see so many young people, teachers and school staff doing so much great work for their school and local environment. The Green-Schools programme in Donegal has been very successful over the past 17 years and Donegal County Council is delighted to continue to support schools in their efforts to achieve a Green Flag. Over the past 17 years schools have made great strides in reducing waste; energy and  water consumption; choosing alternative ways to travel; enhancing biodiversity and discovering their impact on the wider world. I would ask that all young people take that sense pride in their local environment with them into their future lives. "


Dr. Michael-John O’Mahony of An Taisce added: “As the national operator for Green-Schools in Ireland we are very happy to begin our busy awards season with this opening event in Donegal, a county whose schools has really taken to heart the Green-Schools message. We are looking forward to another 20 years of spreading the Green-Schools message in Ireland and beyond with the help of our local authority and international partners and, of course, the students and teachers who have worked so hard on the programme!”


Results from schools participating in the Green-Schools programme have shown a waste reduction per capita of 7.65 kg per year; an electricity reduction per capita of 34 kWh per year and water use reduction of 1005 litres per year.


There are currently 138 schools with a Green Flag in Donegal which equates to 72% of schools registered with the Green-Schools programme in the county. 62 schools will be awarded the internationally recognised Green Flag by An Taisce Green-Schools today over two award ceremonies.  


Today 11 schools will be awarded their first Green Flag for Litter & Waste; 12 schools will get their flag for Energy; 10 for Water: 10 will be awarded for their work on the Green-Schools Travel programme; 11 for Biodiversity and eight for the Global Citizenship theme.


Green Flags flying 20th Anniversary of Green-Schools Celebrated in Donegal







Green-Schools (known internationally as Eco-Schools), is an international environmental management education programme, environmental management system and award scheme that promotes and acknowledges long-term, whole-school action for the environment, and is operating in over 50 countries around the world including; almost all EU member states, Africa, South America, Oceania and Asia.  Green-Schools is an initiative of FEE (the Foundation for Environmental Education).


The programme is coordinated in Ireland by An Taisce, operated in partnership with Local Authorities and is supported by the Department of Environment, Community & Local Government, Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht, National Transport Authority, NPWS, Irish Water, Irish Aid and Trócaire.  The programme is sponsored by Repak and the Wrigley Company Limited.


An Taisce’s Green-Schools Programme reached a record level during the last school year with over 90% of schools in Ireland, equivalent to 800,000 students and teachers, participating in the programme.


Participating primary, secondary and special schools directly saved in excess of €8m in waste, energy, water and transport fuel costs during the last school year.


To date over 70% of schools in the country have been awarded the internationally recognised Green Flag by An Taisce and further 20% are in the process of achieving their first Green Flag, which typically takes around two years.


The Green-Schools programme is based on a seven-step environmental management system and continual improvement process which is very student led and also involves the wider community. Green-Schools is a themed programme with schools initially working on the themes of Litter and Waste and then moving onto themes such as Energy, Water and School Travel. Schools that successfully implemented the programme are awarded the Green Flag. The award must be renewed every two years.


Visit for more information.


An Taisce


An Taisce, the National Trust for Ireland, is an environmental charity, with a range of interests, extending from the natural heritage of land, air, water, flora and fauna, to the heritage of buildings and gardens. Through its local, national and international networks, An Taisce seeks to educate, inform and lead public opinion on the environment, and influence policy and development. Strategies to achieve these aims include awareness and education programmes. As the Irish member of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), An Taisce co-ordinates the Green-Schools programme as well as well as other environmental education programmes such as Blue Flag, Green Homes, Green Communities and National Spring Clean, in Ireland. See for further information.




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