Irish blue flags down after heavy summer rain

The number of blue flags given out to Irish beaches fell slightly this year due to unusually heavy rainfall, according to the government.

In total 83 blue flags have been awarded around the Irish coast for this year, a net loss of three since 2008.

Overall Ireland had 77 flags and 40 green coast, while Northern Ireland managed six flags and four green coast plaques.

The results mirror those released last month in the UK by Keep Britain Tidy showing a total of 71 blue flags were awarded - a fall of 11 from 2008.

However this is, as the campaigning group pointed out was a 'huge increase' from the total of 45 in 2002 when the system started.

John Gormley, Irish minister for the environment, heritage and local government, today (3 June 2009) presented the 2009 Blue Flag and Green Coast Awards in a ceremony at Dollymount Strand, Bull Island, Dublin.

On the fall in flags Mr Gormley said: "The flag losses were due to deterioration in water quality attributable to the exceptionally heavy rainfall during the 2008 bathing season."

Luke Walsh




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