The Kinsale and Royal Cork Yacht club marinas have joined seven of Cork's beaches in being awarded with a Blue Flag – the recognised classification for the highest standard of bathing water and environmental management.
The news comes after all of Cork's 13 bathing beaches passed EU standards for water quality in the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) annual report for 2016, which was released last week.
The two marinas join Redbarn Beach, Barleycove, Garrylucas, Inchydoney, Owenahincha, Tragumna and Garretstown as Blue Flag holders.
The awards were presented by Senator Jerry Buttimer at the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven yesterday.
“The Blue Flag has become a truly global symbol with an ever-increasing number of countries participating in the programme. The programme promotes sustainable development in freshwater and marine areas and challenges local authorities and beach operators to achieve high standards in water quality, environmental management, environmental education and safety,” said Senator Buttimer.
“Over the years, the programme has become a highly respected and recognised eco-label working to bring together the tourism and environmental sectors. There are also very tangible economic benefits to be derived from our marvellous coastal environment and quality facilities, both at local, regional and national levels. I am very honoured to be associated with the prestigious Blue Flag programme on its 30th anniversary and to present the awards to this year’s very worthy recipients,” he added.
The Blue Flag programme aims to raise environmental awareness and promote sound environmental management of beaches, marinas and inland bathing waters around the world. The 81 Irish beaches and seven marinas that have achieved the accolade met specific criteria related to water quality, information provision, environmental education, safety and site management.
Fourteen beaches in Co Kerry were awarded blue flags including Inch; Ballybunion North, Ballybunion South; Ballyheigue; Banna; Fenit; Kells; Magherabeg; Rossbeigh; Ventry; White Strand Caherciveen; Fenit Marina; Ballinskelligs and Derrynane.