'Blue Flag' misery at Portrane beach
Another blue flag has been lost to Fingal as stricter guidelines for the award begin to bite and mean that Portrane beach loses its blue flag status this year.
The council has only been in a position to apply for two blue flags on Fingal beaches this year, at Portmarnock and Balcarrick Beach in Donabate.
The bad news comes hot on the heels of negative water quality results in Rush's South Beach and Loughshinny that were identified by the EPA as being among a handful of irish beaches with 'poor' water quality.
Addressing the issues in Rush and Loughshinny first, the council said that a management plan has been developed by the council and approved by the EPA with short and long-term measures to 'address potential pollution sources'.
The council claimed that 'The EPA is satisfied that the measures set out in the plan will likely achieve an improvement in water quality'.
On South Beach in Rush, the council said: 'A separate management plan is currently being implemented at this bathing water to address potential pollution sources.'
It is hoped that the long-awaited upgrade of the local sewerage network which is set to begin construction late this year, will ultimately address this problem.
North Beach in Rush is different though and it has been added to the list of recognised bathing spots in Fingal.
Cllr Barry Martin (Ind) has asked the council to look at a system that is operating in Wisconsin in the USA that monitors water quality more regularly and can produce results within three hours.
He said that there are days when the water quality at the south beach is good enough to swim in and on those days it would be useful to have that information so the beach did not have to be closed to bathers for a whole season.
On the loss of the blue flag in Portrane, Cllr Paul Mulville (NP) said he was 'very disappointed'.
Speaking to the Fingal Independent after this month's council meeting, Cllr Mulville said: 'The blue flag is important for local residents and business, as well as for visitors to the area.
'A plan must be put in place by the council, working with the local community, to ensure the blue flag will be restored to Portrane as a priority.'