78% of Irish bathing sites are of ‘excellent’ quality, a report for the Environmental Protection Agency has concluded.
With summer approaching and thousands of Irish people flocking to beaches across the country, the Director of the EPA’s Office of Evidence and Assessment, Dr Eimear Cotter, described the survey as a “good news story”:
“Bathing waters in Ireland are of high quality and nearly 80% are classified as ‘excellent’ with indeed 97% meeting the minimum standard,” Dr Cotter explained to Newstalk Breakfast.
“So this is really good news as we go into the summer and many of us will want to enjoy our lovely beaches and bath areas around the country.”
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The quality of Irish water has improved steadily over the years - something Dr Cotter said was down to improved management by local authorities as well as more investment in urban waste water infrastructure.
However, there continues to be an issue in rural Ireland with contamination from agricultural products during wet weather - a problem she said local authorities are well aware of.
“The way that’s managed is the local authorities are looking at what the weather is going to be and putting up advisory notices to people,” she explained.
“And it’s a fact of our weather that we have quite a lot of weather in Ireland and not as much sunshine as we’ll have elsewhere.
Ireland ranks in the middle of European league but Dr Cotter says it is hard to make accurate comparisons:
“It is not directly comparable because weather does play such a large factor in this,” she continued.
“We have more rain, we have less sunshine - which would also help to improve water quality - so we are about mid rank on that table.”
Main image: A man jumping into the Forty Foot, Sandycove near Dublin.