Northern Ireland news

Five beaches in Republic fail to retain blue flag status after a drop in water quality

The water quality classification is based on analysis of samples taken over the last four bathing seasons

FIVE beaches in the Republic have failed to retain blue flag status after a drop in water quality.

The beaches did achieve a "good" result but not the "excellent" water quality classification they previously had from conservation charity An Taisce.

The water quality classification is based on analysis of samples taken over the last four bathing seasons.

The beaches in question are Bray South Promenade in Wicklow; Warren, Cregane Strand in Cork; Traught in Kinvara, Co Galway; Carrowmore and Clare Island in Co Mayo.

Meanwhile, 95 beaches and marinas, the highest figure yet, will receive blue flag awards this year for their water and general environmental quality.

There are two newcomers to the awards, Fountainstown in Co Cork and Trá Inis Oirr in Galway, while five beaches that had lost their blue flag in recent years have regained them.

Balcarrick Bech in Donabate, Fingal has been awarded a Blue Flag for the first time since 2016, while Ballybunnion North Beach, which last flew a Blue Flag in 2019 has been awarded for the 2022 bathing season.

Ballymoney North Beach in Co Wexford regains blue flag status having not been awarded it in 2021.

Youghal Front Strand in Co Cork and Rush South Beach in Co Dublin also were awarded flags after previously losing them.

An Taisce's coastal awards manager Ian Diamond said it is an occasion to celebrate the quality of coastal areas.

"It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to manage a beach or marina to the excellent standards required by these award programmes," he said.

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