Minister Murphy welcomes findings of the EPA Bathing Water Report
Mr. Eoghan Murphy T.D., Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government today, Thursday 30 May 2019, welcomes the publication of the latest Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Bathing Water Quality in Ireland Report.
High national standards of bathing water quality
The EPA reports further improvements in the quality of Ireland’s bathing waters compared with last year. 103 of the 145 designated bathing waters are classified by the EPA as ‘excellent’; 22 are now classified as ‘good’ and 12 were classified as being of ‘sufficient’ quality.
The Minister also welcomes the designation of new bathing waters. Three new bathing waters have been designated at at Dooey and Magheraroarty in Donegal; and at Seafield Quilty in Clare. All three new sites received an ‘excellent’ classification.
A further three bathing waters at Forty Foot Bathing Place, Sandycove Beach and White Rock Beach were newly identified in 2018 and will be classified following the 2019 bathing season.
Successes and challenges
The Minister stated that, "Today’s report from the EPA shows that nationally, Ireland has excellent standards of bathing water. High-quality bathing waters are a great natural amenity and I would like to acknowledge the work of the many people who contribute to keeping them at such a high standard. We must continue to protect water quality on our beaches.
“I am concerned at the ongoing issues contributing to poor water quality at a small number of our 145 designated bathing waters. Consistently ‘poor’ designations must be addressed as a matter of priority.
“In the cases of Merrion and Sandymount Strands, a number of complex issues are contributing to the poor designations. Nevertheless, they must be tackled quickly through collaborative action across the local authorities concerned.
“Intensive consultations are ongoing at a senior technical level between my Department, Dublin City Council, and the EPA in this regard and I look forward to seeing progress in the short term”.
EPA Reporting on Bathing Water Quality
Each year the EPA produces a report on bathing water quality in Ireland which sets out the level of compliance of circa beaches which are designated as bathing waters under the EU Bathing Water Directive 2006/7/EC (implemented via the Bathing Water Quality Regulations 2008). The designation of bathing waters is considered on the basis of samples taken by the relevant local authorities over the preceding four years.
Very useful and timely bathing water information is available to beach users on the linked websites – www.blueflagireland.org (link is external) and www.beaches.ie (link is external) – run by An Taisce and the Environmental Protection Agency respectively.