Beaches closed to swimmers after suspected sewage leak
Four beaches in north Co Dublin have been closed for swimming on the hottest weekend of the year so far because of suspected sewage pollution.
Swimming at beaches at Rush, Balbriggan, Skerries and Loughshinny has been banned for 72 hours because of a deterioration in the quality of the water.
This is believed to have been due to a "suspected sewage discharge" from a waste water treatment plant, according to the local council.
A warning about the beach closures was issued to local councillors by Garry O'Brien of the Environment Department of Fingal County Council.
"Pumps at the foul sewer pumping station at Hampton Cove, Balbriggan, failed on Saturday June 4 and the pump station has been on overflow for a period of time," he said.
"This action is being taken to ensure we are not compromising the health of bathers."
Loughshinny Beach and Rush North Beach were closed after inspections revealed a "significant amount" of matter, including sanitary towels , had washed up on the shores.
Fingal Councillor Grainne Maguire said: "It's very serious because it stretches from Balbriggan all the way to Rush. It's a huge issue."
Councillor JP Browne said it was "a real shame" and that Fingal County Council and Irish Water were working together to solve the problem.
"It's very disappointing and will have a huge affect on Fingal's tourism."
This year Portmarnock beach, also in Fingal, lost its Blue Flag, while Skerries lost its Blue Flag the year before.