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NINE CLARE BEACHES have retained their Blue Flag status for 2022 with three Green Coast Awards also maintained.

For the eighth year in succession, An Taisce have awarded nine Clare beaches with the International Blue Flag. The Blue Flag is one of the world’s most recognised eco-labels. Originating in France in 1985, three years later the award made its way to Ireland with nineteen beaches and two marinas acknowledged.

2022 is the 35th year that beaches and marinas have been awarded here in Ireland and the 95 beaches and marinas being awarded is the highest annual total to date, the number is up two on the 2021 results.

Ballycuggeran, Cappa Pier in Kilrush, Fanore, Kilkee, Lahinch, Mountshannon (Lough Derg), Spanish Point, White Strand in Doonbeg and White Strand in Miltown Malbay will continue to fly Blue Flags, they all fall within the responsibility of Clare County Council. They were deemed to have adhered to specific criteria related to water quality, information provision, environmental education, safety and site management.

79 of the 83 beaches awarded in 2021 retained Blue Flag Status for the 2022 bathing season, Kinvara was among the five to miss out.

Kilrush Marina was the only Clare recipient in the Blue Flag Marina awards.

Once again, Green Coast Awards have been secured for Ballyalla Lake, Bishops Quarter and Carrigaholt Beach. It is the second year in a row that Seafield has been unsuccessful having previously notched the recognition in 2020. The Green Coast Award recognises beaches for their clean environment, excellent water quality and natural beauty.

Green Coast Award sites are exceptional places to visit and enjoy our rich coastal heritage and diversity. The Green Coast Awards were presented back in 2003 to four beaches in County Wexford, it was rolled out nationally in 2008 and for this year 62 beaches were acknowledged. The efforts of the Ballyalla Blue Flag Working Group, Ballyvaughan Tidy Towns, Carrigaholt Tidy Towns and Carrigaholt Development Association were central to Clare keeping its three representatives.

An Taisce announced the International Blue Flag and Green Coast Award recipients for 2022 at a ceremony on Curracloe Beach in Wexford on Friday afternoon. Minister of State with responsibility for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan (GP) presented the awards. He said, “This year celebrates 35 years of the Blue Flag as an international programme and during that time the Blue Flag has become an internationally recognised symbol of high standards in water quality, environmental management, environmental education and safety”.

“It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to manage a beach or marina to the excellent standards required by these award programmes. It’s been too long since we’ve had the opportunity to acknowledge these efforts in person, and I would like to thank all in attendance and our hosts Wexford County Council for helping us make today’s event worth the wait,” Ian Diamond, Coastal Awards Manager for An Taisce commented.

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