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Shore to be safe; 80 Irish beaches are awarded Blue Flag as three lose excellent water quality status.

Byline: SAOIRSE MCGARRIGLE

THREE of the country's beaches have lost their Blue Flag status for 2019.

Bundoran Beach in Co Donegal and Bertra Strand and Golden Strand in Co Mayo have failed to retain the eco seal of approval.

All three were classified as achieving good water quality, but "excellent" is required to achieve Blue Flag status.

Overall, 80 beaches and eight marinas have been awarded the coveted accolade for 2019, but it's two fewer than last year.

However, all seven marinas rated last year kept their flags.

Meanwhile, Rathmullan Marina in Co Donegal has been awarded a Blue Flag by An Taisce for the first time.

Kerry is the jewel in the crown as it tops the poll with 13 beaches and one marina scooping the prize.

Speaking at the awards ceremony in Co Clare, International Blue Flag director Sophie Bachet Granados said the accolade has operated in Ireland for more than 30 years.

She added: "The Blue Flag is a symbol of excellence in environmental education, management, water quality, safety and services."

Separately, Green Coast Awards went to 62 beautiful beaches. The contest was initially rolled out in Co Wexford in 2003 and five years later it has been extended nationwide.

Seapoint in Termonfeckin is the first site in Co Louth to receive a Green Coast Award.

Cork's Cadogan's s 30 years is how Flag Awards running in dst Strand has regained its title for the first time in eight years.

A total of 800 community groups dotted around the coast are the driving force sprucing up Ireland's shoreline.

An Taisce coastal awards manager Ian Diamond said: "These awards are not easily achieved and represent a real effort by local authorities in co-operation with Clean Coasts groups to reach the highest standards in water quality and environmentally sensitive beach management. An Taisce long Blue have been Ireland would like to acknowledge in particular the dedication of Clean Coasts groups around who give up their time to care for their local beaches throughout the year."

Commenting on the results, Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy said: "It is a reflection of the outstanding efforts of citizen and community groups and the great work carried out by An Taisce and the Local Authorities."

And it is a double celebration for five beaches that achieved dual status.

Portmarnock in Fingal, Co Dublin, Salthill and Silver Strand in Galway, Rosses Point in Sligo and Ballinskelligs in Kerry now have Blue Flags and Green Coast Awards.

news@irishmirror.ie

said: are by in in in first sa aasbi w s dst 30 years is how long Blue Flag Awards have been running in Ireland

CAPTION(S):

in the RUNNING Blue Flag winners announced yesterday

Seapoint won Green Coast Award for first time LOUTH & PROUD

Rathmullan Marina gets first Blue Flag PIER THROUGH

Cadogan's Strand regains title after 8yrs IT'S A CORKER

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUIR
Date:May 21, 2019
Words:476
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