Bertra beach near Westport has regained the Blue Flag status it lost in 2019, increasing the number of Blue Flag beaches in Mayo to eleven.
The 2020 recipients of the International Blue Flag and Green Coast Award were announced this morning by An Taisce, with ten beaches in Mayo to fly the prestigious Blue Flag this summer.
Bertra beach which is located near Murrisk outside Westport is one of the beaches to regain its Blue Flag status, as its bathing-water quality at Bertra has been upgraded from ‘good’ to ‘excellent’, allowing it to meet the criteria the international award.
The news has been welcomed by local councillor Christy Hyland. “I am delighted that Bertra has regained its Blue Flag status, as it is one of the most popular beaches and it deserves to have this status. I know people were disappointed last year when it lost its Blue Flag, and I congratulate everyone who ensured its was regained this year. It is a big boost for the area with tourism about to reopen at the end of the month,” he said.
The bathing-water quality at two of the most popular beaches in Mayo, Old Head near Louisburgh and the Golden Strand in Achill, failed to make the Blue Flag standard.
Golden Strand, located in the village of Dugort, lost its status last year after the bathing-water quality was classified as ‘good’, not ‘excellent’, by the EPA. Unlike Bertra beach, the EPA found that the water quality had not improved satisfactorily over the last 12 months and the water quality remained classified as ‘good’.
Old Head beach lost its Blue Flag status in 2013 due to the water quality, and it has once again failed to regain its status. Cllr Hyland said its was time this was rectified.
“I have asked serious questions of the executive of Mayo County Council and I haven’t got any satisfactory answers. It has to be dealt with. I am calling on the Council to deal with the problem so Old Head can get its Blue Flag. It is renowned throughout the country for its beauty and is a very popular area,” he said.
All of the ten beaches that were awarded Blue Flags in 2019 retained the status. The eleven beaches to receive the Blue Flags are Carrowmore; Clare Island; Mulranny; Dooega, Achill; Keel, Achill; Keem, Achill, Silver Strand, Dugort, Achill; Mullaghroe, Belmullet; Elly Bay, Belmullet; and Ross in Killala.
Mayo also received six Green Coast Awards, awarded to beaches of high environmental quality and excellent water quality. The beaches to receive the award in Mayo are Tránaun, Inishturk; Termon, Blacksod; Cross, Bemullet; Srah, Claggan Island; Portacloy, Kilcommon; Rinroe, Kilcommon.
Donegal was awarded the most Blue Flags of any county, receiving 12 for its beaches and two more for two marinas.