13 Clare Locations Retain Blue Flag and Green Flag Status
Clare County Council has expressed confidence that Cappagh will regain its Blue Flag for the 2024 bathing season after it was revealed that the West Clare beach has not been included in the 2023 Blue Flag Awards.
An Taisce announced today (Friday 19th May 2023) that Blue Flags have been retained for the 2023 bathing season by 8 Clare beaches, namely Whitestrand Miltown Malbay, Ballycuggernan, Whitestrand Doonbeg, Mountshannon, Fanore, Spanish Point, Kilkee and Lahinch, while Carrigaholt beach, Ballyalla Lake, Seafield and Bishop’s Quarter have each retained the Green Coast Award. Meanwhile, Kilrush Marina has been included in the list of Blue Flag Marinas for the third consecutive year.
Clare County Council said the temporary loss of Cappagh’s Blue Flag relates to historical sampling data relating to testing carried out during the past four years into four classifications, namely Excellent, Good, Sufficient and Poor. Cappa has this year been classified as ‘Good’, which is above bathing water quality standard required, and the Local Authority is reassuring the public that the area remains safe for swimming.
Cllr. Tony O’Brien, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, said: “Clare has a proud tradition of involvement in the Blue Flag award scheme, which represents high standards in water quality, environmental information and education, environmental management and safety, services and facilities. The county’s beaches have a longstanding reputation for their clean environment, excellent water quality and natural beauty. I want to acknowledge local authority staff and communities across the county for paying their role in Clare’s success in the Blue Flag programme.
“Despite not been awarded a Blue Flag in 2023 which requires a classification of ‘Excellent’, the water quality at Cappagh is of a high standard, and this has been demonstrated my monitoring there for many years. I look forward to Cappagh securing its Blue Flag status next year,” added Cllr. O’Brien.
Cllr. Shane Talty, Cathaoirleach of the West Clare Municipal District, stated: “The small rocky beach and nearby pier at Cappagh are popular with local residents and visitors alike and the latest development will do little to change this. In line with the Bathing Water Quality Regulations 2008, regular testing at Cappagh will continue from this Monday which will reassure people that Cappagh remains a safe environment in which to enjoy the waters of the Shannon Estuary.”
Siobhan McNulty, Acting Director of Services, Physical Development, Clare County Council, explained that Cappagh beach has held the Blue Flag for 15 years and has maintained its Blue Flag status uninterrupted.
“One of the criteria for retaining the Blue Flag is bathing water quality, which is assessed as an average of the previous 4 years,” she added.
Ms. McNulty continued: “The detection of several elevated E. coli and Enterococci readings in 2019, 2020 and 2022 means that bathing water quality for Cappagh has changed from ‘Excellent’ for 2022 to ‘Good’ for the 2023, which, under the Blue Flag Programme, would be insufficient to retain the Blue Flag this year. With increased sampling of the water quality being undertaken this summer, Clare County Council is hopeful that the Blue Flag will be flying high over Cappagh once again during the 2024 bathing water season.”
The Blue Flag programme aims to raise environmental awareness and promote sound environmental management of beaches, marinas, and eco-tourism boats around the world. 2023 is the 36th year that beaches and marinas have been awarded here in Ireland and the 95 beaches and marinas being awarded is the highest annual total to date.
The Green Coast Awards, first presented in 2003, recognises beaches for their clean environment, excellent water quality and natural beauty. An important aspect of the Green Coast Awards is the involvement of Clean Coasts groups in the management of awarded sites.
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