THE vast majority of beaches in North Dublin are unlikely to be eligible for a Blue Flag until at least 2014.
Most of Fingal's nine beaches yet to achieve the coveted status for water quality will probably fall short for the next number of years, the council said.
Only Portmarnock strand currently flies a Blue Flag in the authority's area.
It also has administrative control over beaches at Balbriggan, Skerries, Loughshinny, Rush South, Portrane, Donabate, Malahide and Sutton.
A series of works taking place at these locations, aimed at improving water quality, is unlikely to be completed until at least 2012.
However, the required cleanliness standards need to be in place for two consecutive bathing seasons before applying for a flag.
That means 2014 is the earliest date Fingal can hope to secure the status.
The information was released to Cllr Cian O'Callaghan (Lab) after he asked what action the council was taking "to ensure that the beaches in Fingal qualify for Blue Flag status in 2011".
Among the works being undertaken by the council is phase three of the Balbriggan-Skerries Waste Water Scheme, including the upgrading of the Balbriggan sewer network.
The local authority pointed out the construction of a new waste water treatment plant at Portrane started in February 2010.
It is due to be completed in February 2012.
In a report, the council stated that, to receive a Blue Flag, a bathing site must also "meet a range of other specified objectives such as the provision of safety services and facilities like public toilets, environmental management of the beach area and environmental education". It stated none of its remaining eight beaches reached the required standard in 2009.
As a result, "the earliest possible year (they could) obtain a Blue Flag would be 2012.
"However, works to try to improve water quality ... in general are not scheduled for completion ... until 2012 so that must be borne in mind," the council added.
Fingal previously admitted untreated sewage discharged off Howth Head was "likely to have contributed to poor bathing water quality at Burrow Beach" in Sutton.