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White Flag Award


85 Irish Leisure Facilities Receive 2011/2012 White Flag Award

THE Only Quality Standard For Gyms, Leisure Centres & Swimming Pools in Ireland

Thursday, 13th October 2011: ILAM -  the Irish leisure industry employers body which represents gyms, leisure centres, sports, fitness, aquatic & outdoor facilities, has announced that 85 leisure facilities from across Ireland have been awarded White Flags for the 2011/2012. The prestigious White Flags Awards were presented at a gala dinner hosted by RTE Sports broadcaster and commentator Michael Lyster in the Mount Wolseley Hotel and Country Club in Carlow.

The White Flag is the only comprehensive quality award and measurement of standards for gyms, swimming pools and leisure amenities in Ireland. The highly sought after White Flag Award, which is now in its eleventh year, is an essential quality mark that every swimming pool, sports hall, fitness studio and gym facility in Ireland must strive to achieve and its presence is critical, in the absence of any government legislation.

Leisure facilities in 23 counties were presented with White Flags for 2011/2012. Four facilities received the flag for the first time and 10 facilities have achieved the White Flag for the eleventh consecutive year. Disappointingly, however no flags were presented to leisure facilities in Longford, Louth and Leitrim. (see below for full list of White Flag facilities).

Barry Walsh, President, ILAM said: “A White Flag is a visible sign that a swimming pool, gym or leisure facility is operating to high standard and is a safe place for adults and children to exercise. Consumers need to check that their gym or leisure centre has White Flag when joining or attending a leisure facility.”

The White Flag Awards are judged by an independent jury made up of experts from a number of nationally recognised organisations including Fáilte Ireland, the HSE, the Irish Hotels Federation, Consumer Association, Swim Ireland and Irish Water Safety. Judging is thorough and rigorous ensuring that fitness, gym instructors and lifeguards are fully qualified, facilities are safe, clean and hygienic; and that equipment is maintained correctly.

In addition to the White Flag, the Disability Provision Award and the Training Ethos Award are presented at the annual ceremony. Both awards provide invaluable feedback for leisure facilities and the industry. The Disability Provision Award was introduced in 2005 in partnership with The Irish Wheelchair Association and Cerebral Palsy Sport Ireland and has grown in stature every year. A disability access audit is conducted on each facility entered for the award. Each facility entered is graded with a Gold, Silver or Bronze. This year’s recipients are as follows:

Gold : DLR Leisure Services, Monkstown; DLR Leisure Services, Meadowbrook; LeisureWorld – Bishopstown, K Leisure – Athy, K Leisure – Naas and Westport Leisure Park.

Silver: Clondalkin Leisure Centre, ESB Sportsco, Newpark Leisure Centre, Swan Leisure, Tallaght Leisure Centre, Coral Leisure Cobh, LeisureWorld – Churchfield; Shoreline -Bray, Leisureland - Galway, Grove Island Limerick, Ennis Leisure Complex, Coral Leisure Killarney, Coral Leisure Askeaton.

Bronze: DLR Leisure Loughlinstown, Stewarts Sports Centre and Portlaoise Leisure Centre.

The Training Ethos Awards was presented to LeisureWorld in Bishopstown. A full on site training audit is conducted on each short listed facility by Sue Baird, a HR & Training specialist for the services industry. The highly commended facilities are DLR Leisure Services Loughlinstown, DLR Leisure Services Monkstown and LeisureWorld - Churchfield. Short-listed facilities included DLR Leisure Services – Meadowbrook; LeisureWorld – Bishopstown; Swan Leisure and Waterworld Bundoran.
The Manager of The Year Award, sponsored by the National Training Centre and IHRSA was also presented at the White Flag ceremony. This year the award goes to Aylenne Moloney from LeisureWorld in Bishopstown, Cork. Aylenne wins a trip to the 30th Annual International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) Convention and Trade Show, which takes place from 14-17 March at the LA Convention Centre, Los Angeles. Managers working in White Flag accredited leisure facilities who comply with the ILAM membership code of conduct and operating standards are invited to enter the awards. Each manager is asked to provide information on their current management role, policy and procedures, marketing and customer processes, key business results and the impact on the local community along with a current resume of their work and two references.

Editorial Note:

The White Flag is a quality standard with key criteria classified under a number headings including facility interior, exterior & grounds; staff training and qualifications, disability access and provision, cleanliness and hygiene; operations; environmental management; water quality and treatment and education information.   Each leisure facility must have safe and easy access, qualified and trained staff in fitness, gym, sports, swimming and spa pool and all areas, good health & safety procedures and follow industry codes of practice.  By following White Flag criteria and making some necessary changes, a leisure facility can reach a very high standard, offering the best possible service without resorting to major structural changes.


ILAM is the Irish leisure industry employer’s body for all sports, fitness, aquatic, outdoor and associated facilities. ILAM delivers industry training and sets quality standards for the leisure industry in order to provide adults and children with a safe place to exercise.

White Flag Awards 2010-2011 in Castlebar. From left to right: Emmet Scully, Amy Flanagan, Jay Dunne, Pam Quirke, Seán Quirke, Julie Murray, Paddy Murphy.

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