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Minister helps Keady pupils celebrate winning ‘Green Flag’ award

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has been in Keady today (Wednesday) to award the staff and pupils of Clea Primary with their special ‘Green Flag’ award as an ‘eco-school’, the world leading environmental initiative.

The initiative funded by the Department of the Environment encourages environmental action by schools which leads to improved attitudes and behaviours towards the environment.

Minister Durkan had written to schools last year encouraging those still not registered with the Programme to do so. As a result, Northern Ireland now ranks 9th in the world for uptake of Eco-Schools with nearly 99% of schools here now part of the International Programme, which operates on a purely voluntary basis here.

Speaking to pupils on the Eco Council of Clea Primary School, during a visit with Councillor Thomas O’Hanlon , Minister Durkan said: “It is great to see your energy and enthusiasm for improving your environment. I am delighted to be presenting your second Green Flag Award today. You have taken the opportunity to put into practice what you have learnt about the environment. You have involved the whole school and worked with the wider community to make a real difference to our environment. Well done!

“I would also like to congratulate your teachers for their commitment and hard work. Environmental action such as this can help to save money by saving energy, reducing waste, and improving school grounds is great. The work that you and other teachers and pupils across the North have done is an example to everyone.”

Councillor O’Hanlon added: “Clea School is a small rural school, but it has shown a massive drive and energy for the protection of our environment. They have a successful School Council and a very committed Eco Committee within the school.

“Today is an important day in this, the school’s one hundredth year. The Minister’s visit and the award of the school’s second Green Flag is indeed is a very special day in the school’s history.

“All schools in the Council area are now registered Eco-Schools. I look forward to the day when all our children across the area can take pride in being in a Green Flag School.”

Locally, the programme is operated by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, an environmental charity dedicated to making Northern Ireland a cleaner, greener and more sustainable place in which to live. There are now 1,165 Eco-Schools in Northern Ireland representing 98.9% of all schools. It is a programme of continuous improvement and as such schools have to re-apply for their Green Flag every two years.

Mrs Gallagher, Eco-Schools coordinator at Clea Primary School commented: “We are delighted to be hosting Minister Durkan and Mr O’Hanlon here today. It is an honour and the pupils have been very excited about it, especially as this is our second Green Flag Award.”

Eco-Schools, sponsored by Airtricity, is a free-to-enter programme that has real benefits for pupils, teachers and the school budget. The programme is delivered to schools throughout Northern Ireland in partnership with a range of delivery partners including most Councils.

To learn more or to register please visit: http://www.eco-schoolsni.org

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