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An Taisce Blue Flag & Green Coast Awards

26th May 2016
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From left Michael John O’Mahony, Director, An Taisce’s Education Unit; and Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government Simon Coveney TD raising the flags on Portmarnock’s Velvet Strand at the announcement of  An Taisce’s Blue Flag and Green Coast Awards 2016 From left Michael John O’Mahony, Director, An Taisce’s Education Unit; and Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government Simon Coveney TD raising the flags on Portmarnock’s Velvet Strand at the announcement of An Taisce’s Blue Flag and Green Coast Awards 2016 Photo: Naoise Culhane

An Taisce announced the International Blue Flag Award and the National Green Coast Award recipients for the 2016 bathing season. A total of 141 awards were presented by the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Mr. Simon Coveney, T.D, at an awards ceremony held on the Velvet Strand, Portmarnock in Fingal at 12 noon today.

Speaking at the awards Minister Coveney noted that “In Ireland, we are particularly fortunate to have a varied and beautiful coastline with many pristine beaches that are open to the public to enjoy. However, we cannot rest on our laurels and must continue to make strident efforts to protect and improve our waters. This will ensure that we, and future generations, can continue to enjoy this wonderful resource.”

Mr. Ian Diamond, Coastal Awards Manager at An Taisce’s Environmental Education Unit speaking at the awards said:
“I would like on behalf of An Taisce to pay tribute to the Local Authorities and marina operators here today for all their efforts in ensuring that the sites being awarded for the 2016 bathing season have achieved the excellent standards required by the Blue Flag and Green Coast Awards”.

The 79 Irish beaches and 6 marinas are awarded the prestigious Blue Flag Award for the 2016 bathing Season.

The Blue Flag is one of the world’s most recognised eco-labels. The programme aims to raise environmental awareness and promote sound environmental practices and behaviours among beach and marina users. The 79 Irish beaches and 6 marinas that achieved this accolade met a specific set of criteria related to water quality, information provision, environmental education, safety and beach management.

As a pre-requisite, the bathing water at Blue Flag beaches must meet the highest standards of bathing water quality. The overall Blue Flags in Ireland this year is down only one on 2015, whilst four of the beaches awarded in 2015 did not retain Blue Flag status, the Blue Flag will be raised for the first time at Ballymoney North Beach in Wexford and Brittas Bay North regains Blue Flag status lost last year. Fenit Marina in Kerry has also been awarded a Blue Flag this year whilst all of the marinas awarded last year have retained Blue Flag status for the coming season.

An Taisce – The National Trust for Ireland is responsible for the operation of the Blue Flag programme in Ireland on behalf of the Foundation of Environmental Education.

Blue Flag Applications were not received for the following beaches that had been in receipt of the award in 2015: Redbarn (Cork), Garretstown (Cork), and Portrane (Fingal). These beaches did not meet the excellent water quality standard required for Blue Flag status. Ross Strand in Mayo was not awarded the Blue Flag due to there being less lifeguard cover than advised during in-season control visits.
56 Beaches receive the Green Coast Award for the 2016 Bathing Season

The Green Coast Awards were presented back in 2003 to four beaches in County Wexford. Since then, the award has gone from strength to strength recognising beaches for their clean environment, excellent water quality and natural beauty. An important aspect of the Green Coast Awards is the involvement of Clean Coasts groups of which there are now 499 comprised of thousands of volunteers throughout the island. These volunteers participate in community clean-ups and coastal enhancement projects at their local beaches throughout the year.

56 beaches in Ireland were awarded the Green Coast Award representing a decrease in 3 awards since 2015. Boatstrand in Waterford is being awarded for the Green Coast Award for the first time since 2010, whilst Red Strand in Cork has regained the award due in part to improved water quality.

Having not met the excellent water quality standard required, Rocky Bay in Cork, Portrane in Fingal, Mayo’s White Strand and Cross in Louisburgh did not retain the award for the 2016 bathing season.

Published in Coastal Notes

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Coastal Notes Coastal Notes covers a broad spectrum of stories, events and developments in which some can be quirky and local in nature, while other stories are of national importance and are on-going, but whatever they are about, they need to be told.

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.

The topics in Coastal Notes can also be about the rare finding of sea-life creatures, a historic shipwreck lost to the passage of time and which has yet many a secret to tell. A trawler's net caught hauling more than fish but cannon balls dating to the Napoleonic era.

Also focusing the attention of Coastal Notes, are the maritime museums which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of historical exhibits for future generations.

Equally to keep an eye on the present day, with activities of existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector and those of the energy exploration industry.

In addition Coastal Notes has many more angles to cover, be it the weekend boat leisure user taking a sedate cruise off a long straight beach on the coast beach and making a friend with a feathered companion along the way.

In complete contrast is to those who harvest the sea, using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety poses an issue, before they set off to ply their trade at the foot of our highest sea cliffs along the rugged wild western seaboard.

It's all there, as Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied to the environment from which they came from and indeed which shape people's interaction with the surrounding environment that is the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

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