DUBLIN, Ireland - In its annual report for the year, the Environmental Protection Agency has, for the third year in a row, rated three-quarters of Irish beaches as excellent.
In its report, the EPA said that 75 percent of Ireland's designated bathing waters or a total of 130 beaches were excellent, good or of satisfactory standard for swimming.
However, the agency said that six beaches, three in Dublin and three in Galway, failed to meet the legally required minimum standard.
The Dublin beaches that failed to make the cut were Merrion Strand, Loughshinny, and Portrane - while Clifden, Tra na Forbacha, and Ballyloughane in Galway too were deemed unfit for swimming.
These beaches are said to have failed to meet the minimum safety standards as they were contaminated by sewage and drainage misconnections, septic tank discharges, dog and seagull faeces, and river inputs.
Following the tags assigned to these six beaches, local authorities in both, Dublin and Galway have begun advising the public not to swim at the specified locations this summer.
In its report, the EPA said the public can help by taking their rubbish home from the beach, and bagging dog faeces rather than burying it in the sand.
EPA Senior Scientific Officer Peter Webster said in an interview with RTE that there are still 43 areas of concern from around the coastline where raw sewage is pouring into the sea.
He however, noted that fortunately, not many of them are near identified beaches, with the exception of Youghal.
According to Webster, the intention of Irish Water is to spend around 350 million euros until 2020 to address issues.
Further, commenting on the beach study, Dr Matt Crowe, director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Evidence and Assessment, said, "All bathers are entitled to feel that they and their loved ones are safe from harm from the water they swim in when they spend a day at the beach. More needs to be done to provide a greater level of protection for bathers at beaches and other bathing areas vulnerable to pollution. It is simply unacceptable to have popular bathing areas classified as being of poor quality.”