Limerick schools ‘should be financially rewarded for flags’

A CALL has been made for schools to be rewarded financially when they secure green flags.

A CALL has been made for schools to be rewarded financially when they secure green flags.

Former city councillor Sean Griffin, who sits on the environment committee said the programme is not grant aided - and in order to keep schools interested, a financial reward should be on the table.

The popular environmental scheme is designed to teach students of the need to look after the environment from a young age.

In the city, 26 out of 32 national schools have green flags flying, with two more applications currently being processed.

Green flags can be awarded for energy conservation schemes, water preservation, and green travel among other things.

Meanwhile, the council meeting heard eight out of 14 secondary schools have also raised flags, with two schools currently putting together an application.

Mr Griffin said: “A vision is needed to drive this on: it needs to be financed. I would not expect them to give a vast amount of money, but at least schools should have some kind of reward to keep their work going.”

However, southside Fine Gael councillor Jim Long said: “When a flag goes up at a school, this is their winning streak.”

He recalled how students in a school in Rosbrien picked up cigarette butts around the periphery without being prompted to do so.

Environmental awareness officer with City Council Sinead McDonnell said: “I would not be encouraging a financial reward. When a school gets the flag, this is the award. It is one of the only programmes where a whole school can come together.”

Cllr Kieran O’Hanlon reflected this, saying: “The enthusiasm and pride shown by students is something to see. It is a huge way of educating young children.”

But he called for the Green Flag scheme to be extended to soccer clubs, GAA clubs, and residents groups.

Ms McDonnell praised the secondary schools taking part, in particular Presentation Secondary School which last year made the final of Junk Kouture.

This is a competition which encourages students to create fashionable clothes from everyday junk that would normally find its way into the bin.

Northside councillor Cormac Hurley said schools not taking part should be named and shamed. But this idea was ruled out.

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