THIRTEEN Irish beaches have lost their coveted Blue Flag status because water quality wasn’t good enough.
Stricter new EU bathing water quality standards introduced this year led to the huge wave of losses.
Ireland only received 74 blue flags today – a drop of 13 on last year’s total.
A further 12 beaches also lost Green Coast awards also because of the higher standards.
Stripped of blue flags were Skerries South Beach, Donabate, the Brook Beach Portrane , the Velvet Strand Portmarnock all Dublin, Ballybunion North beach, Kerry, White Strand Miltown Malbay and Lahinch, Clare and Ceibh an Spideal in Galway.
Others who lost their 2012 blue flags as they did not apply this year were Dollymount, Dublin , Morriscastle, Wexford, Bunmahon in Waterford, Redbarn , Garryvoe, Garretstown and Barleycove, Cork, and Old Head, Mayo.
Mullaghmore in Sligo could not be awarded the flag as there are ongoing issues with livestock roaming on the main beach area “creating an unsafe environment for beach users.”
Three new blue flags were awarded to Killiney and Seapoint in Dublin and the Royal Cork Yacht Club marina in Cork.
Dublin received just two blue flags in total, which Donegal got 13, the biggest number awarded to any county this year.
Beaches which lost Green Coast Awards also because they failed to comply with the stricter new bathing water criteria were : Skerries South Beach, The Brook Beach Portrane , Balcarrick, the Velvet Strand Portmarnock, all in Dublin, Mornington, Meath, Silverstrand , Mayo, and Ladies Bay ,Donegal.
Arklow South beach in Wicklow lost its award due to non-compliance based on insufficient water sample numbers.
Applications were not received this year from last year’s Green Coast award holders at Dollymount and Malahide , Dublin, and Garryvoe and Fountainstown in Cork.
Newtown Cove, Co Waterford and Cross beach, Louisburgh, Co Mayo regained their Green Coast awards.
The 70 beaches and 4 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.
The EU, influenced by the World Health Organisation guidelines, used higher standards to identify the potential risk of disease to bathers and to protect public health.
As a result, beaches must meet the “Excellent” standard of water quality in order to be considered for the Blue Flag Award.
Beaches that met the “Good” standard were not considered for the award though some of these would have been eligible under the old rules which were based on the old directive.
Bathing water is now based on water samples from a four year period instead of the monitoring results from a single bathing season.
An Taisce, which organises the Irish awards, said the new standard “gives stronger focus to the protection of public health and promotes a proactive approach to the management of bathing water quality. “
An Taisce also launched the new Blue Flag Ireland website which can be found at www.blueflagireland.org.
This website is designed as a beach user resource providing information on each individual blue flag beaches and marinas.
The website incorporates general beach/ marina information, information about education activities, water quality and safety and services..
An Taisce director Patricia Oliver: “Blue Flag and Green Coast awards at a beach or marina are a sign of quality.”
“ These awards are not easily achieved and represent to the public, locations which have been rigorously assessed. “
“They also represent a real effort by local authorities to work towards the highest standards in water quality, beach management, safety and environmental excellence.”
Environment Minister Hogan said: “ These programmes give a sound guarantee of excellent quality and standards to tourists and promote a sense of pride among local populations and beach management staff.”
2013 BLUE FLAG AWARDEES SUMMARY
LOUTH – 3 FLAGS
Louth County Council retains all 3 Blue Flags at Templetown, Port and Clogherhead.
Dublin – 2 Flags
DLR – 2 Blue Flags were regained at Killiney and Seapoint. These beaches were last awarded in 2008.
Fingal – 4 applications were received for beaches in Fingal, however Balcarrick Donabate, Skerries South Beach, Velvet Strand Portmarnock and The Brook Beach Portrane were not awarded based on non-compliance with the water quality requirements.
Dublin City – An application was not received for Dollymount.
WICKLOW – 3 FLAGS
Wicklow County Council retains the Blue Flag at Brittas Bay North, Brittas Bay South and Greystones.
WEXFORD – 3 FLAGS
Wexford County Council retained flags for 2013 at Courtown, Curracloe, and Rosslare. An application was not received for Morriscastle.
WATERFORD – 2 FLAGS
Waterford County Council retained the Blue Flag for the 2013 season at Clonea Strand and Tramore. An application for the 2013 season was not received for Bunmahon.
CORK – 5 FLAGS
Cork County Council is in receipt of 5 Blue Flags for the 2013 bathing season. These are Tragumna, Owenahincha, The Warren, Inchydoney and Garrylucas. Applications were not received for Redbarn, Garryvoe, Garretstown and Barleycove.
KERRY – 12 FLAGS
Kerry County Council is in receipt of 12 flags for Derrynane, Magherabeg, Ballinskelligs, White Strand-Caherciveen, Kells, Rossbeigh, Inch, Ventry, Fenit, Banna, Ballyheigue and Ballybunion South. Ballybunion North was not successful as it did not meet the requirements for bathing water quality.
CLARE – 6 FLAGS
Clare County Council has been awarded 6 flags for Cappagh Pier, Kilkee, Doonbeg, Fanore, Ballycuggeran and Mountshannon. 2 flags were lost at White Strand Miltown Malbay and Lahinch as these beaches did not meet the required bathing water quality requirements.
GALWAY - 7 FLAGS
Galway City Council retained 2 Blue Flags for Salthill and Silverstrand.
Galway County Council receives 5 flags for Loughrea Lake, Trá Mhór Coill Rua, Trá an Doilín, Traught and Cill Muirbhithe. 1 flag was lost at Céibh an Spidéal due to non-compliance with the bathing water quality requirements.
MAYO – 12 FLAGS
Mayo County Council is in receipt of 12 Blue flags for Ross Killala, Elly Bay, Mullaghroe, Golden Strand, Dugort, Keem, Keel, Dooega, Clare Island, Mulranny, Bertra and Carrowmore.
An application was not received for Old Head.
SLIGO – 2 FLAGs
Sligo County Council retains the Blue Flag for Rosses Point, and Enniscrone.
Mullaghmore could not be awarded the Blue Flag due to the lack of lifeguarding at the beach and due to the continued issues regarding safety with livestock on the beach.
DONEGAL – 13 FLAGS
Bundoran Town Council retained the Blue Flag for its beach at Bundoran.
Donegal County Council retained Blue Flags flags for Rossnowlagh, Murvagh, Fintra, Naran Portnoo, Carrickfinn, Killahoey, Marblehill, Downings, Portsalon Magherawarden, Lisfannon, Culdaff and Stroove.
2013 BLUE FLAG MARINAS (4)
The marinas awarded for 2011 are:
Westmeath: Killinure Point Marina, Glasson. This marina is managed by the Quigley’s and Waveline. It is located on the inner lakes of Lough Ree on the Shannon.
Wexford: Kilmore Quay Marina is operated by Wexford County Council and is our only coastal Blue Flag marina.
New Ross “Three Sisters Marina”. This marina is managed by New Ross Town Council and is located on the banks of the River Barrow.
The Royal Cork Yacht Club is located in Cork Harbour on the Owenabue River. The club is managed and run by its executive committee.
List of Blue Flag Awarded beaches and marinas 2013
Mayo Ross Killala
Mayo Elly Bay
Mayo Golden Strand
Mayo Clare Island
Clare Cappagh Pier
Donegal Naran Portnoo
Donegal Portsalon Magherawarden
Sligo Rosses Point
Galway County Cill Mhuirbhigh
Galway County Trá an Dóilin
Galway County Trá Mhór
Galway County Traught
Galway County Loughrea Lake
Galway City Silver Strand
Galway City Salthill
Kerry Ballybunnion South
Cork The Warren
Wicklow Brittas Bay South
Wicklow Brittas Bay North
Westmeath Killinure Marina
Wexford Kilmore Quay
Wexford New Ross Marina
Cork The Royal Cork Yacht Club
2013 GREEN COASTS AWARDEES
LOUTH – None
No applications for GCA.
MEATH – None
1 GCA application received however not awarded as it did not meet the bathing water requirements.
DUBLIN – None
Fingal County Council: Fingal has been unsuccessful in the GCA award for the 2013 season. Awards were lost at Balcarrick, The Brook Beach Portrane, Skerries South Beach and The Velvet Strand. These beaches were unsuccessful as they did not comply with the bathing water quality requirements. An application was not received for Malahide beach in respect of the 2013 season.
Dublin City: An application was not received for Dollymount.
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council: No applications for GCA.
WICKLOW – None
1 application was received for Arklow South beach however the beach did not meet the requirements for bathing water quality due to insufficient samples numbers.
WEXFORD – 4 GCAs
Wexford County Council retained GCAs for 2013 at Ballinesker, Cahore, Culleton’s Gap and Old Bawn. Applications were also received for Cullenstown Beach and Ballymoney but were unsuccessful due to non-compliance with bathing water quality requirements.
WATERFORD – 5 GCAs
Waterford County Council has been successful in receiving the GCA award for Ballyquin, Curragh, Goat Island, Guillamene and Newtown Cove. The award has been regained at Newtown Cove for the 2013 season. Newtown Cove was last awarded in 2011.
CORK – 9 GCAs
Cork County Council receives 9 GCA awards for Adnahinch, Ballyrisode, Dooneen Pier, Galley Cove, Garnish, Inch, Oysterhaven, Ring and Rocky Bay.
No application was received for Garryvoe or Fountainstown. A new application was received for East Beach Inchydoney however the beach was not awarded as it did not meet the criteria in relation to sample numbers. An application was also received for Red Strand however it was unsuccessful due to non-compliance with the bathing water quality requirement.
KERRY – 1 GCA
Kerry County Council retained the GCA for Béal Bán.
CLARE – None
GALWAY – 8 GCAs
Galway City Council retained the GCA for Salthill and Silver Strand.
Galway County Council retained their 6 GCA’s for Aillebrack, Dogs Bay, Dumhach Beach, East End Inisbofin, Renvyl and Tra Inis Oirr.
MAYO – 7 GCAs
Mayo County Council receives 7 GCA’s for Carrowniskey, Cross Belmullet, Cross Louisburgh, Portacloy, Srah, Termon and Whitestrand. Cross, Louisburgh re-enters the Green Coast Award programme for the 2013 season. An application was received for Silverstrand, however was unsuccessful as it did not meet the requirements for bathing water quality.
SLIGO – 5 GCAs
Sligo County Council has retained its 5 GCAs for Dunmoran strand, Enniscrone, Rosses point, Streedagh and Mullaghmore.
DONEGAL – 6 GCAs
Donegal County Council received GCAs for Ballyhernan, Dooey Beach, Drumnatinney, Magheroarty, Port Arthur and Rathmullan.
Ladies Bay was unsuccessful in its application as it did not meeting the bathing water quality requirements.
List of Green Coasts Awarded beaches 2013
Cork Dooneen Pier
Cork Galley Cove
Cork Rocky Bay
Donegal Dooey Beach
Donegal Port Arthur
Galway County Aillebrack
Galway County Dog’s Bay
Galway County Dumhach Beach
Galway County East End Inisbofin
Galway County Renvyl
Galway County Tra Inis Oirr
Galway City Salthill
Galway City Silver Strand
Kerry Beal Ban
Mayo Cross, Belmullet
Mayo Cross, Louisburgh
Sligo Dunmoran Strand
Sligo Rosses Point
Waterford Goat Island
Waterford Newtown Cove
Wexford Culleton’s Gap
Wexford Old Bawn