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Sunday 20 October 2019

Hogan to raise issue of beach which lost Blue Flag due to "statistical glitch”

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

Environment Minister Phil Hogan has promised to lobby the European Commission about the fact that a famous beach lost its Blue Flag due to a "statistical glitch".

Stricter new EU bathing water quality standards introduced this year led to a huge wave of losses of the coveted Blue Flag. Ireland only received

74 blue flags today - a drop of 13 on last year's total.

But at the presentation of the awards in Dun Laoghaire, Mr Hogan said the new method of setting the standards could result in a "perverse outcome" where a beach with excellent water quality was only classified as having "good" water. He said this "statistical glitch" had affected one beach in particular -which is understood to be Lahinch in Clare.

"I'm concerned about this matter and I have asked my department to raise it with European Commission," he said.

The 70 beaches and four marinas that received flags today met a specific set of criteria related to water quality, information provision, environmental education and beach management.

In previous years, the Blue Flag water quality criteria was based on the

1976 EU Bathing Water Directive.

However from this year they are based on the 2006 EU Bathing Water Directive which is in line with the latest scientific information and current best practice.

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