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Sunday 21 September 2014

Beaches closed to swimmers as heavy rain increases pollution

Laura Larkin
and Sam Griffin

Published 06/08/2014 | 02:30

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James Higgins (1 yr 7 months) Anne Conroy and Liam Higgins (5), Artane.
James Higgins (1 yr 7 months) Anne Conroy and Liam Higgins (5), Artane.

Bathers were banned from 12 Dublin beaches yesterday after water pollution brought on by heavy rain.

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Fingal County Council announced yesterday that swimmers are being warned off because the recent bad weather has affected water quality.

Skerries, Malahide and Velvet Strand in Portmarnock were among the beaches that were no-swim areas yesterday.

A spokesperson for Fingal County Council said that the water quality was affected by the downpours over the weekend, causing overflow in the pump stations along the strands.

The spokesperson said it was rare for water quality to drop at this time of year and the council hoped to be able to lower the red flag along the beaches very soon.

The water in Fingal beaches usually qualifies as "good" or "excellent" and it is hoped that the next round of testing will show a return to this standard.

Beaches that received a notice also included Balbriggan, Loughshinny, Balcarrick, Malahide, Tower Bay, Brook Beach, Burrow Beach, Claremont Beach and Hampton Cove.

Artane grandmother Anne Conroy brings her young grandchildren, Liam and James, to the beach because she wants them to share the same memories of the bay.

"They love being down here but thankfully they are happy to stay in the sand. It's a real pity for those who use the beach to swim," she said.

This is not the first time this summer that those wanting to take a dip have been warned away from beaches around the country. Last month, heavy rainfall caused a rise in bacteria levels on Sandymount strand in Dublin and Ballyloughane beach in Galway.

Meanwhile, Ireland is set to be spared the wrath of a tropical storm making its way across the Atlantic, with temperatures around the high teens or low 20s forecast for the rest of this week and the next.

Met Eireann has stressed that 'Bertha' will be classed as "an ex-hurricane" by the time it reaches land on Sunday.

"A lot of these lows at this time of the year begin as hurricanes or storms in the Gulf of Mexico but as they cross the Atlantic they lose some of their power and become more normalised lows," Siobhan Ryan said.

Met Eireann said parts of the south could suffer some heavy rainfall, but added that the UK would be hit worst by the bad weather.

"The eye is around 200 miles to the south of Ireland on Saturday," she said.

"It won't great here in Ireland, with scattered outbreaks of rain across the country and maybe a little bit more persistent in the south. There's nothing necessarily untoward at the moment, though," she added.

Irish Independent

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