CORK County Council has said this lunchtime that, as a result of pollution, it is advising the public not to swim at the popular bathing spot, the Abbey, in Bantry.
A statement added: ‘In response to a notification of water pollution in Bantry today, Cork County Council staff have identified the source of pollution and the Council’s Environmental Department are working with the relevant parties to resolve the issue.’
They said they will ‘shortly erect a sign to say that swimming is prohibited at the Abbey until the issue is resolved’.
The Abbey, which has a man-made sandy area for locals, is a popular swimming spot in the town, and is located on the Cork side of the bay, close to the Abbey cemetery and near the local sailing club and Bantry House. In recent years, it has become a very popular spot for early morning sea swimmers who swim there most mornings of the year.
This afternoon the Council issued a statement about the source of the pollution, saying: 'The source is not Irish Water/Council wastewater infrastructure, but is from a private drain.'
There is, however, an outlet pipe for raw sewage close to the Abbey bathing area – a situation described by the then-county mayor Patrick Gerard Murphy, at a meeting last January, as ‘regrettable.’
Both Cllr Murphy and then-Cllr Mary Hegarty (FG) said they had been advised that the situation regarding the raw sewage pipe would be resolved when a major project to repair and replace parts of the old town drainage system is being carried out, although the Council has no idea when this will happen.
The area where the sewage enters the harbour is known as the ‘bathing box’ and is alongside the N71 on the entrance road into town.
'‘We know it will be resolved, but we can’t say when,’ said the county mayor at the time.
The notice was issued on the hottest day of the year so far, with temperatures in Bantry reaching 23 degrees.