27 May 2009

Quality of East Coast Beaches "disappointing"

The quality of Ireland's east coast bathing water has deteriorated significantly last year, with a doubling of the number of beaches failing to provide 'minimum mandatory standards'.

A new report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that even though beaches on Ireland's west coast performed well, the east coast experienced major difficulties, particularly around Dublin.

While the EPA points out that Ireland's bathing waters "remain of a high quality", the sad fact is that more than 20% of them failed to pass two EU quality tests.

Nine bathing areas - out of a total of 131 tested - were found to have failed even the most basic 'minimum mandatory standards'.

Four of the bathing areas were identified in just one local authority area - Fingal County (which is part of the Greater Dublin area).
They are the beaches of Balbriggan, Loughshinny, Malahide and Portrane.

Of the 14 beaches within the Dublin local authority areas, only three were found to have passed both EU mandatory values and the stricter analysis known as 'EU guide values'.

"Poor weather conditions during last summer are partly responsible", explains Dr. Michael Lehane of the EPA. But he describes the test results as "disappointing", and adds that "unless all necessary actions are undertaken", the problems will reoccur.

As things are right now - with our economy in recession, the whole country in turmoil, our incompetent government in chaos, and money being short everywhere - it is rather unlikely that much attention will be paid to the specific conditions of our beaches. Which means that probably even more of them will fail the EU tests next year.

While the east coast, and in particular the Dublin Bay area, are getting the black mark, Ireland's west coast appears to be in good condition.
All of Co. Donegal's 19 official beach areas, as well as the 15 beaches each in Counties Mayo and Kerry, passed both EU tests.

So, if it is a beach holiday you have in mind for this summer, forget the east coast and go bathing in the West.

The Emerald Islander

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