herald

Friday 9 December 2016

Skerries fails to retain Blue Flag status ahead of summer season

Skerries Harbour
Skerries Harbour

SKERRIES beach in north Dublin has lost its Blue Flag after the water there did not meet the "excellent standard" required for the accolade.

But it wasn't all bad news for the capital as it was announced that Donabate, Portrane and Portmarnock on the northside and Killiney and Seapoint south of the Liffey all retained their flags.

According to An Taisce, Skerries South Beach "did not meet the excellent standard required for Blue Flag status", though it was still classifed as "good".

A total of 144 Blue Flag Awards and National Green Coast Awards have been awarded to beaches and coastal areas.

Wicklow retained two blue flags at Brittas Bay South and Greystones South Beach, but Brittas Bay North lost its status due to failure to comply with water quality requirements.

This year also saw an increase in the number of Green Coast Awards, which go to beaches that have excellent water quality, a five-year beach management plan and where the local communities are encouraged to engage in the management of the beach.

These beaches may not have the facilities required to attain Blue Flag status, but they are described as being "exceptional places to visit".

Fingal was awarded four Green Coast Awards for Balcarrick in Donabate, Portrane, The Velvet Strand Portmarnock and The Burrow.

However, Skerries also failed to make the excellent standard required for this award.

Environment Minister Alan Kelly spoke at the awards ceremony, held on Ballinskelligs Beach in Co Kerry.

"Blue Flags represent excellence. They are a clear signal of quality and are something to be cherished," he said.

"A blue flag flying at a particular location means it has achieved excellent water quality to standards set by European and national regulations.

"This is testament to the sterling efforts of local authorities, An Taisce and of local communities in ensuring their beaches meet the standards of excellence required for a Blue Flag or Green Coast Award."

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