BY KIERAN O'MAHONY
THE frequency of water samples taken at Courtmacsherry beach would need to be dramatically increased in order for it to attain Blue Flag status after councillors were told that just two water samples have been taken from the water since 2005.
Speaking at a recent Bandon Kinsale Municipal District meeting, municipal district officer Brian Dunne told councillors that the process for submitting a beach for identification – and by extension a Blue Flag – has closed for this year but will reopen early next year.
He said that one of the criteria to be met to qualify for a Blue Flag is that of regular sampling of the water, but added that only two samples have been taken from the beach, one in 2005 and one in 2021. ‘There were no issues reported but we need to up that testing significantly over a three to four-year period for it to be considered for Blue Flag status,’ he said.
He added that an alternative and less onerous award is the Green Coast award which is given to sites, which may be less developed and less populated than Blue Flag beaches, but which have excellent water quality.
Cllr John O’Sullivan (FG) welcomed this move for more frequent testing at the beach and pointed out that Courtmacsherry previously held a Blue Flag. ‘We had a Blue Flag originally when they were introduced but due to new criteria we lost it. The biggest issue outstanding was that there were no toilets there but that has been rectified so the water testing is the next step,’ he said.
‘The fact that we have the Wild Atlantic Way (WAW) extended means it could all come together if we were successful in getting a Blue Flag status for the beach also.’
Earlier this year, Garrettstown Beach lost its Blue Flag status over recycling facilities, but following a compromise between An Táisce and Cork County Council, the beach retained its Blue Flag status. Neighbouring beach, Garrylucas also retained its Blue Flag status.