Ripples of disappointment as three of Fingal’s bathing spots fail water quality tests

by Sylvia Pownall

Five Dublin beaches – including three on the Fingal coast – have failed to meet minimum standards for water quality.

Bathing water at Loughshinny, Portrane and Rush South were labelled as ‘poor’ by the Environmental Protection Agency, in addition to Sandymount and Merrion Strand.

The three Fingal strands – which account for almost one quarter of the capital’s beaches – are said to be vulnerable to periodic pollution and could pose a health risk.

Loughshinny Beach.

Urban sewage and septic tank discharges were to blame in Loughshinny and septic tank discharges and surface run-off were likely pollution sources at Portrane.

In Rush, sewage discharges were noted as the reason for failure based on samples taken in 2017. Water quality is expected to improve significantly thanks to a major sewerage upgrade.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan called for more urgency in addressing water quality issues, adding: “The progress in addressing poor water quality at some locations remains worryingly slow.

“These failures threaten public health, tourism and the environment. Bathers are at risk of skin irritation and illness if exposed to pollution in these areas.”

Meanwhile, Fingal County Council is asking residents who swim at beaches, lakes and rivers to help identify bathing areas not officially categorised as designated bathing waters.

Officials want to broaden their list so that waters commonly used by swimmers can be monitored for safety, water quality and level of use.

Under European and Irish law, local authorities must identify bathing waters so they can be monitored to ensure they meet stringent microbiological water quality standards.

To propose your favourite beach/river as a new bathing water site, or to comment on an existing site, visit and make your submission by Friday, June 22.

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