Kerry has retained 13 Blue Flags at 12 of the county’s beaches as well as Fenit Marina. The decision of the International Blue Flag jury was announced this week and sees the following beaches awarded Blue Flags for 2020: Rossbeigh, Ballybunion South, Ballyheigue, Fenit, Maherbeg, Kells, Derrynane, White Strand, Ballinskelligs, Banna, Ceann Trá (Ventry) and Inch. Fenit Marina also retains its Blue Flag this year. Green Coast Awards have been issued in respect of Waterville, Ballinskelligs, Béal Bán, Castlegregory and Littor beaches.
‘Blue Flags are an important internationally recognised indicator of the quality of a beach environment and it is encouraging that Kerry is continuing to set a high standard in this regard,’ said John Breen, Director of Services with Kerry County Council.
‘To retain 13 Blue Flags is really positive news for the local economy and our tourism industry. Whilst the decision of the International Jury not to award a blue flag to Ballybunion North beach for this year, based on cumulative water quality results is disappointing, we will work hard to ensure the restoration of the Blue Flag status to this beach. It should be noted however that Ballybunion North is still regarded as ‘good’ status and thus suitable for bathing and swimming,’ he said.
Cathaoirleach of Kerry County Council, Cllr Niall Kelleher said that the awarding of the Blue Flags is a result of a collaborative approach between Kerry County Council, local community groups and beach users who work together to maintain our beautiful beaches and bathing waters.
‘The local authority invests tremendous effort in formulating strategies to keep County Kerry at the top of the Blue Flag list and will continue to invest the necessary resources to ensure the sustainable management of the magnificent beaches along the Kerry coast.’
‘We would appeal to all beach users this summer to be responsible in observing social distancing at the beach, to be respectful of other beach users and to ensure that they leave the beach as they found it and do not litter,’ he added.
Lifeguards will be deployed at beaches from 20 June following the completion of training and the issuing of standard operating guidelines which had been impacted by the current public health restrictions.