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80 Blue Flags For Ireland's Beaches & Marinas In 2014

4th June 2014
80 Blue Flags For Ireland's Beaches & Marinas In 2014

#BlueFlag - 80 swimming spots around Ireland's coast - comprising 76 beaches and four marinas - have been awarded the prestigious Blue Flag for 2014, an increase of six on last year.

And a further 54 beaches were recognised in the National Green Coast Awards, nine more than in 2013.

Blue Flag applications were received for 81 beaches in total, though five beaches - Bertra and Mulranny in Mayo, Rossbeigh in Kerry and Miltown Malbay and Spanish Point in Clare - were not awarded the clean water accolade due to ongoing works to repair extensive damage caused by the winter storms.

However, eight Blue Flags were regained across four local authority areas.

Four were regained in Portmarnock, Portrane, Donabate and Skerries South Beach in Fingal, while Morriscastle in Wexford and Ballybunion North in Kerry regained their Blue Flags after failing to comply with water quality criteria in 2013.

In Waterford, two Blue Flags were regained in Councellors Strand and Dunmore Strand.

Speaking at the awards ceremony at Skerries South Beach today (Wednesday 4 June), Environment Minister Phil Hogan said Ireland's performance in this year's Blue Flag awards is a "testament to efforts of communities, local authorities and An Taisce and the sterling work they do.

"Results might even have been better except for the devastation of the storms last winter which caused significant damage in some areas.”

An Taisce's Patricia Oliver said that “In order to be eligible for the Blue Flag, a beach or marina must comply with strict criteria relating to water quality, safety, facilities for visitors, beach management including litter control, environmental education and the provision of information.”

Meanwhile, Trá gCaorach Inis Oirr in Galway and Kilfrassey in Waterford were first time winners in the National Green Coast Awards, which recognise beaches that may lack the necessary infrastructure for Blue Flag consideration but are judged on "clean environment, excellent water quality and natural beauty".

Some 54 beaches in Ireland were awarded the Green Coast Award, representing an increase of nine awards.

Only Dog’s Bay in Galway lost its Green Coast Award due to considerable infrastructural damage at the beach as a result of the storms.

Oliver added that an important aspect of the Green Coast Awards is the involvement of Clean Coasts groups, of which there are now over 400 comprising thousands of volunteers throughout the island.

“Clean Coasts groups contribute significantly to the protection of Irelands coast," she said. "In 2013 over 700 beach cleans took place and these groups removed over 500,000 items of marine litter from the marine environment.”

“Local authorities, marina operators and local communities should be commended for their efforts in achieving Blue Flag and Green Coast award status today."

The full list of Blue Flag and National Green Coast Awards recipients can be downloaded below.

Published in Coastal Notes
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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Stories can be diverse and they can be influential, albeit some are more subtle than others in nature, while other events can be immediately felt. No more so felt, is firstly to those living along the coastal rim and rural isolated communities. Here the impact poses is increased to those directly linked with the sea, where daily lives are made from earning an income ashore and within coastal waters.

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