Thursday 25 December 2014

Video: Blue flag status in jeopardy as Mayo beach destroyed by storm Christine

Aishling Phelan

Published 27/01/2014 | 11:12

Concerns raised for Mulranny beach in Co Mayo achieving blue flag beach status after it was destroyed by storm Christine.

Tonnes of boulders were washed onto the car park and the access road making it look like a lunar landscape.

There were fears another storm would arrive overnight which would hampers efforts of a clean up

Atlantic sea board counties have estimated repair costs of €65-€70m for the damage caused by the storm.

This figure may increase as damage assessments are carried out.

Mayo county council are seeking a €4.5m sum for repairs.

The storm was thought to be the most prolonged and destructive storm experienced in Ireland in two decades.

"There are some serious concerns for some candidate Blue Flag beaches that have been left devastated by the recent storms," said Annabel FitzGerald, Coastal Programmes Manager at An Taisce, "particularly where infrastructure such as access roads, carparks and other amenities have been destroyed."

"These are of course imperative criteria in terms of achieving the Blue Flag status."

The Blue Flag is one of the world’s most recognised eco-labels.

Beaches and marinas that achieve this accolade must comply with a specific set of criteria relating to water quality, information provision, environmental education, safety and beach management.

The blue flag application process for 2014 is now closed and the candidate beach applications are being prepared to present to the National Jury and then in turn to the International jury which will be held in April. It is based on the recommendations of both these jury meetings that Blue Flags for 2014 will be announced.

"We will be holding our annual Beach Awards meeting with all of the coastal Local Authorities on February 5th by which time I expect to have a full picture of how Ireland’s Blue Flag beaches may be affected for the 2014 season which commences on the 1st of June," Fitzgerald told Independent.ie.

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