Earlier this month the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) hosted a conference in Athlone giving delegates the opportunity to discuss and explore the further development of a thriving evening and nighttime economy.

Representatives involved in the management of nighttime destinations across Ireland were invited to discuss a range of issues including business supports, late night transport, events and Purple Flag accreditation. 

The Purple Flag programme is the framework under which the vision for a vibrant, open, safe and appealing city for all can be achieved.  Under the auspices of the flag, local stakeholders have been working together since 2015 to promote the evening and nighttime economy as a lever of economic and social prosperity for Waterford. 

Most recently, Waterford received Purple Flag status in 2023, recognising Waterford's blend of entertainment, dining, and culture, all the while ensuring the safety and well-being of residents, and visitors in the evening and night-time economy, between the hours of 5pm and 5am. 

Jim ‘Flash’ Gordon, Proprietor of Revolution and Chair of the Purple Flag Committee said, “The value of Purple Flag accreditation can’t be emphasised enough.  It means that local stakeholders, both public and private bodies, are continually working in partnership to enhance Waterford’s evening and nighttime experience.  

“It’s imperative that locals and visitors have a breadth of cultural, arts and music options available to them in the evening in a safe and welcoming environment, and while there can be challenges, Waterford is an exemplar as our Purple Flag accreditation confirms.” 

In recognition of Waterford’s commitment to creating a dynamic, secure, and vibrant evening and nighttime economy, the Purple Flag accreditation process is similar to the Green Flag Award for parks and Blue Flag for beaches. There are one hundred Purple Flag destinations around the globe across Ireland, the UK, Sweden, New Zealand, and Australia. This includes world renowned tourist destinations to small market towns.

Julie Walsh, Economic Development, Waterford City and County Council said, “This conference provided insightful and practical guidance in furthering Waterford’s nighttime economy offering.  It also highlighted the challenges towns and cities around Ireland are facing and looked at ways to mitigate those, through cooperation, collaboration, and stakeholder engagement.

“Through these strategic partnerships we can continue to focus on the nighttime economy and foster a vibrant, lively and safe Purple Flag zone, through cultural events, festivals and supporting areas such as late-night public transportation and hospitality, reinforcing Waterford as the Best Place to Live in Ireland.”