Record number of Irish beaches awarded Blue Flag status
A RECORD 90 beaches and marinas will raise Blue Flags during this summer’s bathing season, up two on last year.
Ardmore in Waterford has achieved Blue Flag Status for the first time since 1997, due in part to improved bathing water quality brought about by the completion of a new wastewater treatment plant.
Carne in Wexford has also been awarded a Blue Flag for the first time.
The awards come as Met Éireann forecasters predict dry and settled weather this week with above-average temperatures in most parts.
The Blue Flag is one of the world’s most recognised eco-labels, and is awarded to bathing spots which meet strict criteria around water quality, provision of information, facilities and safety.
Some 49 countries operate the programme globally, which is administered in Ireland by An Taisce.
“Today high number of awards reflects the great efforts made by local authorities, An Taisce, local coastal communities and other volunteers on the ground,” Housing, Planning and Local Government Minister Eoghan Murphy said.
“It also reflects well on the work being done more widely within catchments to improve water quality. Achieving these awards is quite rightly a point of fierce local pride but it really engages communities and citizens with their natural environments.”
In addition to the 83 beaches and seven marinas which achieved the Blue Flag, another 59 beaches received Green Coast Awards, including two for the first time – Sherkin Island’s Silver Strand in Cork, and Inishturk in Mayo.
These are awarded to locations which do not have the facilities for Blue Flag status but are recognised for their cleanliness, excellent water quality and natural beauty.
Four areas lost their green coast award due to issues with water quality. They are Mornington in Meath, Port Arthur in Donegal, Waterville in Kerry and Kilfarrassey in Waterford.
The county with the most blue flags is Kerry with 13 beaches and one marina.