While the overall quality of bathing water at Ireland’s beaches has continued to improve, two Galway beaches were at the bottom of the rankings in the latest EPA report.
The Environmental Protection Agency today released its Bathing Water in Ireland report for 2019, which named Ballyloughane and Clifden beaches as two of just five in the country classified as ‘poor’ in 2019, meaning they did not meet the minimum required standard.
The other three to fall into the poor category were Merrion Strand and Portrane (The Brook) in Dublin, and Lilliput beach in Westmeath.
Merrion Strand has received a ‘poor’ result five years in a row now, and so will be declassified as fit for swimming in 2020.
But overall the report found that 95% of bathing waters, 140 of 147 designated areas, met or exceeded the minimum required standard last year.
Commenting on the report, EPA Director Dr Micheál Lehane welcomed the overall improvement of water quality results, and that local authorities have been identifying and classifying new bathing areas.
However, he cautioned that “local authorities must remain vigilant to ensure public health is protected and continue to identify and fix sources of water pollution which impact on our beaches.”
Of the waters that met or exceeded the minimum required standards:
- 107 (73%) were classified as ‘excellent’, up from 103 in 2018
- 24 (16%) were classified as ‘good’, up from 22 in 2018
- 9 (6%) were classified as ‘sufficient’, down from 12 in 2018
Mary Gurrie, EPA Programme Manager added that Ireland has many beautiful beaches, and that it’s important that they are protected.
“Enjoying these natural amenities can be good for our physical and mental wellbeing, and it is therefore essential that Ireland maintains good bathing water quality.
Galway’s beaches have fully reopened to the public in the last week as Ireland entered Phase 1 of easing public restrictions imposed for the Covid-19 crisis.
Information about the water quality and any incidents at Ireland’s beaches can be viewed at the website www.beaches.ie.