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Dangerous E coli levels force eighth beach to shut down

ANOTHER Irish beach has been closed for swimming after E coli was detected in the water.

Grattan Beach in Salthill, Galway, has become the eighth beach to be closed as a result of the contamination in the space of a week.

Earlier this week, seven beaches in Cork were closed due to the same dangerous contamination.

Galway City Council said it took the decision to close the popular beach after the results of the most recent bathing-water sampling showed E coli levels breached EU mandatory permitted levels.

On the advice of the HSE, public notices have been put in place advising bathers not to swim there until the quality is restored.

Council officials examined the area yesterday afternoon. Further tests will be carried out today to determine whether the E coli levels have reduced.

Unhappy locals who were prevented from swimming at the Salthill beach yesterday blamed the lack of funding available to the local council for the problem.

Rainfall

However, the council insisted this was not the case. It said the excessive rainfall over the past week was a major contributory factor to the increased levels of bacteria detected.

The wet summer weather has also impacted on the contamination levels of a number of other beaches around the country, including one in Dublin.

Over the past week, Youghal, Claycastle, Redbarn, Coolmain, Garretstown, Oysterhaven and Garryvoe beaches in Cork were all shut as a result of the contamination.

Last night, Cork Co Council confirmed that renewed water tests were conducted on Monday -- but that the results had been delayed for 24 hours.

The council and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) won't know if bacteria levels at the seven Cork strands have fallen back to within EU recommendations until later today, with beaches now unlikely to reopen until the weekend at the earliest.

Hoteliers in east Cork said they had received a number of cancellations as a result.

Earlier this month, Rush South beach in north Co Dublin, was shut after it was contaminated by E coli bacteria over the August bank holiday weekend and failed to meet acceptable EU limits.

Under the new EU Bathing Water Directive implemented in Ireland in 2011, local authorities are required to take a proactive approach in dealing with suspected pollution.

Irish Independent