Minister admits 'disappointment' over bathing water quality

Irish bathing water is showing some signs of improvement but nine areas still failed to meet mandatory standards, according to the latest report.

Irish minister for the environment, John Gormley, 'expressed disappointment' over nine bathing areas not meeting European Union mandatory standards for 2009.

The failing seafronts were, Balbriggan Front Strand, Skerries South Beach, Sutton Burrow Beach (Dublin Fingal); Clifden Beach (Galway); Dunmore Strand Dunmore East (Waterford); Duncannon (Wexford); Killalla Ross Beach (Mayo); Youghal Main Beach (Cork) and Lilliput, Lough Ennel (Westmeath).

Clifden Beach was singled out in the report for particular criticism as it has failed to reach the mandatory level for the past five years.

The report also stated due to increased rainfalls over the past few years, local authorities should be working 'to minismise its effects on bathing water'.

The overall figure for failing beaches was the same as in 2008, but Mr Gormley was keen to point to the number of beaches reaching the EU higher guide standard, increased by 4%, six bathing locations, compared to 2008.

He said: "Results for the bathing season show the quality of bathing water in Ireland generally remains high.

"93% (122 out of 131) of bathing areas complied with EU mandatory standards and 82% (108) complied with the higher guide standards."

Ireland's Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Environmental Assessment, programme manager, Dr Micheál Lehane, added: "Local authorities need to take action to ensure that bathing waters failing to comply with the EU minimum standards are improved.

"Adequate measures - including the provision of appropriate waste water treatment facilities - are required.

"It is also important that local authorities effectively inform the general public when pollution events occur, or are predicted."

"New Regulations, to take effect in 2011, place particular emphasis on this aspect and will require compliance with stricter water quality standards."

The full report can be downloaded here.

Luke Walsh



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