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20th May 2024

Three Irish beaches lose blue flag status for 2024

Simon Kelly

Irish blue flag beaches 2024

Watch where you’re swimming.

Three Irish beaches have had their Blue Flag status revoked for 2024.

Rush South Beach in Dublin, Ballymoney North Beach in Wexford and Tramore in Waterford have all been taken off the blue flag list, failing to achieve ‘excellent’ bathing water quality status.

Awarded by An Taisce (The National Trust for Ireland), The Blue Flag is an environmental award made to beaches and marinas throughout the world that demonstrate good environmental standards and have good sanitary and safety facilities.

85 beaches were awarded Blue Flag status this year, the same number as last year, with three other beaches stepping up for the award.

Bettystown Beach in Meath was awarded a Blue Flag for the first time since 1996, Enniscrone in Sligo also gained one for the first time since 2014.

Traught in Galway also regained Blue Flag status, its first time since 2021.

Nine marinas were also awarded Blue Flag status in 2024, one less than last year (Greencastle Marina in Donegal has not been awarded one this year).

You can check out the full list of Blue Flag beaches here.

Three Irish beaches lose blue flag status for 2024

The news comes after last week it was announced that five Irish beaches were closed due to poor water quality.

There are five beaches nationwide out of use due to poor water quality — an increase of two compared to 2022, according to a report by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).

Discharges from wastewater overflows and misconnections are the main issue at these beaches.

Balbriggan, Front Strand Beach, Co Dublin; Loughshinny Beach, Co Dublin; Sandymount Strand, Co Dublin; Lady’s Bay, Buncrana, Co Donegal and Trá na mBan, An Spidéal, Co Galway were the five beaches closed

The designated bathing season in Ireland is from June 1 to September 15.

Sandymount Strand - Dublin beaches
Sandymount Strand (Rolling News)

The report states that bathing water quality can be impacted by heavy rainfall, resulting in waste water overflows and runoff from agricultural lands and urban areas which can cause short-term deterioration in water quality.

The wet weather in July and August 2023 led to a higher number of beach closures than previous years.

The report finds that bathing water quality in 2023 was high overall, with 97% (143 of 148) of sites meeting or exceeding the minimum standard, the same number as in 2022.

114 bathing sites (77%) had excellent water quality, down from 117 in 2022.

45 beaches were closed in 2023, an increase of 11 from 2022, due to pollution incidents, overflow in the sewer network and algal blooms.

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