Kinsale Yacht Club has won a blue flag for its coastal marina for the first time in today's An Taisce announcement of the International Blue Flag Awards for 2015.
A total of 144 awards were presented by the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Mr. Alan Kelly, T.D, at an awards ceremony held on Ballinskelligs Beach in Kerry. Ireland's diverse coastline with long sandy beaches, bustling promenades and rocky shores have something for everyone.
Kinsale Yacht Club marina is located in a natural, virtually land-locked harbour on the estuary of the Bandon River, approximately 12 miles south west of Cork harbour entrance. It is home to a thriving fishing fleet as well as frequented by commercial shipping, it boats two fully serviced marinas, with the Kinsale Yacht Club & Marina being the closest to the town.Visitors to this marina automatically become temporary members of the club and are therefore entitled to make full use of the facilities.
Speaking at the awards ceremony Minister Kelly said, "Blue Flags represent excellence. They are a clear signal of quality and are something to be cherished. I am delighted to announce that today we will be awarding a total of 86 Blue Flags; 81 for beaches and five for marinas. A blue flag flying at a particular location means that it has achieved excellent water quality to standards set by European and national Regulations, and a very high grade across a wide range of other criteria"
He added that, "This is testament to the sterling efforts of local authorities, An Taisce and of local communities in ensuring that their beaches meet the standards of excellence required for a Blue Flag or Green Coast Award',
81 beaches and 5 marinas were awarded the prestigious Blue Flag award representing an increase in 6 Blue Flag awards since 2014.
Ms Annabel FitzGerald, Coastal Programmes Manager said that, "The Blue Flag is an award of excellence, the beaches and marinas that have achieved this accolade today have complied with strict criteria relating to water quality, safety, facilities for visitors, beach management, environmental education and the provision of information."
In Cork, Redbarn and Garretstown have regained the Blue Flag status and in Wexford, Ballinesker is being awarded the Blue Flag for the first time. 5 beaches that failed to comply with the requirements of Blue Flag in 2014 because of storm damage have regained their Blue Flag status, they are Bertra and Mulranny in Mayo, Rossbeigh in Kerry and Miltown Malbay and Spanish Point in Clare.
Brittas Bay North in Wicklow, Enniscrone in Sligo and Skerries in Fingal have lost their Blue Flags due to failure to comply with water quality requirements for the Blue Flag.
58 beaches in Ireland were awarded the Green Coast Award representing an increase in 4 awards since 2014. Bishopsquarter and Seafield in Clare and Inchydoney East in Cork are being awarded for the Green Coast Award for the first time. In Wexford, Ballyhealy, Ballymoney, Booley Bay, Grange and St Helens Bay have also achieved the accolade.
Having not met the excellent standard required, Skerries in Fingal, Rathmullan in Donegal, Enniscrone in Sligo and Ballycastle in Mayo did not regain the Green Coast Award for 2015.
"The Green Coast Award recognises beaches for their clean environment, excellent water quality and natural beauty. These beaches may not have the necessary built infrastructure required to meet the criteria set for Blue Flag status however they are exceptional places to visit and enjoy our rich coastal heritage and diversity."
An important aspect of the Green Coast Awards is the involvement of Clean Coasts groups of which there are now 440 comprised of thousands of volunteers throughout the island. Ms FitzGerald, paid tribute to these groups stating that, "Clean Coasts groups contribute significantly to the protection of Irelands coast, in 2014 over 800 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" Ms FitzGerald concluded.
SUMMARY OF AWARDS
o 144 awards presented today, an increase of 10 on last year's number.
o 86 Blue Flags are being awarded today in the Republic of Ireland, 81 to beaches and 5 to marinas.
o This is an increase of 6 Blue Flags since 2014, representing an increase of 5 Blue Flag beaches and 1 Blue Flag marina.
o 58 Green Coast Awards are being presented today representing an increase of 4 Green Coast Awards since 2014.
o 6 beaches will be presented with both the Blue Flag & Green Coast Award achieving dual award status. These are Portmarnock, Portrane and Donabate in Fingal County Council; Salthill and Silver Strand in Galway and Rosses Point in Sligo.
BLUE FLAGS GAINED
o Wexford: A Blue Flag is being awarded to Ballinesker for the first time.
o Cork: 2 Blue Flags were regained in Redbarn and Garretstown.
o Kerry: A Blue Flag was regained in Rossbeigh.
o Clare: 2 Blue Flags were regained in Miltown Malbay and Spanish Point.
o Mayo: 2 Blue Flags were regained in Mulranny and Bertra.
o Kinsale Yacht Club has been awarded the Blue Flag for the first time.
BLUE FLAGS NOT AWARDED
Blue Flag applications were received for the following beaches but we were unable to award the Blue Flag.
o Wicklow: Brittas Bay North did not comply with water quality requirements for the Blue Flag.
o Sligo: Enniscrone did not comply with water quality requirements for the Blue Flag.
Blue Flag applications were not received for the following beaches which did have the Blue Flag in 2014.
o Fingal: Skerries South Beach did not meet the excellent standard required for Blue Flag status.
GREEN COAST AWARDS GAINED (+9)
o Clare: Bishops Quarter and Seafield are being awarded the Green Coast Award for the first time.
o Wexford: Ballyhealy, Ballymoney, Booley Bay, Grange and St Helen's Bay are being awarded the Green Coast Award.
o Fingal: The Burrow is being awarded the Green Coast Award for the first time.
o Cork: Inchydoney East is being awarded the Green Coast Award for the first time.
GREEN COAST AWARDS NOT AWARDED (-5)
o Donegal: Rathmullan failed to comply with the water quality standards required for the Green Coast Award.
o Sligo: Enniscrone failed to comply with the water quality standards required for the Green Coast Award.
Green Coast Award applications were not received for the following beaches which did have the Green Coast Award in 2014.
o Mayo: Ballycastle in Mayo did not comply with water quality standards for the Green Coast Award.
o Fingal: Skerries did not comply with water quality standards for the Green Coast Award.
o Wexford: Ballinesker did not apply for the Green Coast Award but is in receipt of the Blue Flag in 2015.