81 Irish Beaches Secure Blue Flag For 2017
Published on May 24 2017 10:13 AM in General Industry tagged: An Taisce / International Blue Flag and Green Coast Awards / Blue Flag / Jerry Buttimer / Royal Cork Yacht Club / Michael John O'Mahony / Foundation of Environmental Education / Green Coast
An Taisce has announced the International Blue Flag and Green Coast Award recipients for 2017. The awards were presented by Senator Jerry Buttimer at an awards ceremony held at the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven, Co. Cork on Tuesday May 22.
Speaking at the event, Senator Buttimer said, "I am happy to announce that a total of 149 Blue Flag and Green Coast awards will be made today, which is an increase of 8 awards from last year and represents a record high.”
Director at An Taisce’s Environmental Education Unit Dr. Michael John O'Mahony expressed his gratitude to "the Local Authorities and marina operators [who were present at the ceremony] for all their efforts in ensuring that the sites being awarded for the 2017 bathing season have achieved the excellent standards required by the Blue Flag and Green Coast Awards.”
The Blue Flag programme aims to raise environmental awareness and promote sound environmental management of beaches, marinas and inland bathing waters around the world. The 81 Irish beaches and 7 marinas that have achieved this accolade adhere to specific criteria related to water quality, information provision, environmental education, safety and site management.
The number of sites receiving the award is up 3 on 2016 and while 3 of the beaches awarded in 2016 did not retain Blue Flag status, the Blue Flag will be raised for the first time at both Portumna in County Galway and at Greencastle Marina in County Donegal. Bray South Promenade regains Blue Flag status, having not flown the Flag since 2000. Redbarn and Garretstown in Cork and Ross in County Mayo also regained Blue Flag status after losing it last year.
Beaches that did not retain Blue Flag status for 2017 as a result of the annual bathing water classification being downgraded from Excellent to Good status based on samples taken over the previous 4 bathing seasons were Lisfannon in Donegal, Killiney in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown and Balcarrick, Donabate in Fingal.
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 (FEE).
61 Beaches also received the Green Coast Award, which recognises beaches for their clean environment, excellent water quality and natural beauty. Ballyallia Lake in Clare and Castlegregory, Littor, Waterville and Ballinskelligs in Kerry all received Green Coast Awards for the first time, while Mullaghmore in Sligo failed to retain the award for 2017 after not meeting the required water quality standard.