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Lifeline thrown to island Blue Flag beaches

Lifeline thrown to Mayo’s island Blue Flag beaches

Anton McNulty

Blue Flag status was awarded to two Mayo island beaches after an agreement about lifeguards was reached. Mayo County Council and An Taisce have decided that lifeguards only need to be present at these beaches at weekends during the bathing season.
The beaches at Dooega on Achill Island and Clare Island faced the prospect of losing their Blue Flag status for 2012 because of the lack of lifeguards. To obtain a Blue Flag, there must be an adequate number of lifeguards on duty. However, the requirement was causing difficulty at these low-usage beaches.
Martin Keating, Director of Services, explained that the situation on these beaches and others will now be monitored. “Beach numbers for both beaches are to be monitored, and the results will be re-assessed at year end. Mayo County Council will endeavour to meet this requirement over the season. It is proposed to review all beaches having regard to usage and availability of resources in determining their appropriate inclusion in either the Blue Flag or Green Coast Programme for 2013,” he said.
Mayo received 13 Blue Flags for 2013 and was awarded seven Green Coasts awards.
The Blue Flag is a certification by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) that a beach or marina meets its stringent standards. FEE's Blue Flag criteria include standards for water quality, safety, environmental education and information, the provision of services and general environmental management criteria. The Blue Flag is sought for beaches and marinas as an indication of their high environmental and quality standards.

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