The prestigious International Blue Flag has been awarded to seven of County Clare’s beaches, including Lahinch which lost its Blue Flag status in 2013.
Despite the extensive storm damage caused along Clare’s coastline earlier this year, Blue Flags have been awarded to Fanore, Kilkee, Cappa, White Strand (near Doonbeg), Ballycuggeran, Mountshannon and Lahinch.
The flag is awarded to hundreds of beaches and a small number of marinas across Europe each year.
The award challenges local authorities and beach operators to achieve high standards in the four main categories of water quality, environmental management, environmental education and safety.
Anne Haugh, Director of Services for Transportation, Environment and Emergency Services with Clare County Council expressed confidence that Clare could increase its complement of Blue Flag beaches from 7 to 8 in 2015.
“White Strand near Miltown Malbay was not considered for a Blue Flag this year due to the ongoing construction of a new community-based Lifeguard Training Centre by Irish Water Safety. The new facility will feature a lifeguard station, new toilets, shower facilities, storage area for rescue equipment and a training centre, and will greatly enhance the overall amenity of White Strand, once completed. An Taisce has said that the water quality at the location complied with Blue Flag Standards so we are hopeful it will secure Blue Flag status next year.”