In a record, sixty-one irish beaches, five more than last year, were rewarded with green coast awards at the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven, Cork. These awards felicitate beaches for their natural beauty, clean environment, safety and excellent water quality. The awards were launched by Senator Jerry Buttimer.
Also, eighty-one irish beaches and seven marinas were awarded with blue flag status this year which is three more than last year. A blue flag standard is an international award which recognises outstanding compliance with sewage treatment and bathing water quality criteria. In Ireland, An Taisce – The National Trust for Ireland is responsible for the operation of the Blue Flag programme on behalf of Foundation of Environmental Education (FEE). The programme aims at increasing environmental awareness and good management of beaches, marinas, inland waters across the world.
However, Dublin’s two well-known beaches, Killiney and Donabate, could not retain their blue flag status. Lisfannon in Donegal was also dropped down from the list.
The Blue Flag will be hoisted for the first time at Portumna in Galway and at Greencastle Marina in Donegal, while Bray South Promenade got its flag back after 17 years.
Redbarn and Garretstown in Cork and Ross in County Mayo also regained Blue Flag status that they lost in 2016.
The Blue Flag is awarded to more than 4,000 beaches and marinas in 49 countries across Europe, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada and the Caribbean.