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Two Mayo beaches lose Blue Flag status

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NO BLUE FLAGBertra beach was badly damaged in storms back in 2014 and now has lost it’s Blug Flag status. Pic: Michael McLaughlin

Áine Ryan


TWO of Mayo’s best known beaches – Bertra in Murrisk and Golden Strand in Achill –  have not retained their Blue Flag status in An Taisce’s 2019 awards due to their water quality not reaching an excellent standard. However, Rinroe Beach, which overlooks Broadhaven Bay on the spectacular north Mayo coastline, has been added to the county’s list of Green Coast Awards but Louisburgh’s Silver Strand lost its Green Coast status in the recent announcement.  
Ten of Co Mayo’s beaches were awarded Blue Flag accolades in the awards, announced by An Taisce at a ceremony in Co Clare last week while seven beaches, including newcomer, Rinroe, were announced as having Green Coast status. (See list below).
The three beaches which lost their status ‘achieved Good Water Quality in 2018 based on the assessment of bacteriological results for the period 2015 to 2018’.
“These narrowly missed the Excellent Water Quality Status, which is the standard, required to achieve the award. All three beaches exceed the standard for safe bathing waters and will be maintained as Blue Flag/Green Coast beaches for the upcoming bathing season. It is expected that Green Coast/Blue Flag status will be achieved on these beaches again in the very near future,” a Mayo County Council spokeswoman confirmed in a statement.
Welcoming the designations for the 17 beaches in the county, Martin Keating, Mayo County Council said: “The Blue Flag and Green Coast Awards, a global recognition of high standards of Mayo Beaches. I would like to acknowledge the work of The Environmental team at Mayo County Council together with other agencies for all their efforts in ensuring that the beaches being awarded for the 2019 bathing season have achieved the excellent standards required by the Blue Flag”.
He also said plans to make provision for disabled access to bathing waters with Beach Wheelchairs are underway with further details to be announced shortly.
Speaking also, Anne-Marie Flynn, Manager, Mayo North Promotions Office, welcomed the news of Rinroe receiving it’s first Green Flag: “We’re thrilled to hear that beautiful Rinroe has been recognised for its clean environment, excellent water quality and natural beauty. Alongside Portacloy, which has retained its Green Coast Award, it further proves that our beaches here in North Mayo are among the very best in Ireland. We hope this year that more visitors travelling along the Wild Atlantic Way take some time to explore North Mayo between Ballina and Belmullet and enjoy discovering our stunning hidden gems.”
An Taisce is responsible for the operation of the Blue Flag and the Green Coast programmes with the support of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and Fáilte Ireland.
An important aspect of the Green Coast Awards is the management of sites in partnership with local Clean Coasts groups in cooperation with local authorities.  The county awarded the most Blue Flags was Kerry with 13 beaches and one marina while Co Cork received the most Green Coast Awards with 14.

BLUE FLAG BEACHES
Carrowmore; Clare Island; Dooega; Elly Bay; Keel; Keem; Mullaghroe, Belmullet; Mulranny; Ross Killala; Silver Strand, Dugort.

GREEN COAST BEACHES
Tranaun, Inishturk; Termon, Blacksod; Srah, Claggan Island; Portacloy, Kilcommon; Cross, Belmullet; Carrowniskey, Louisburgh; Rinroe, Erris.