Mr. Dick Roche, T.D., Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, today (11th May 2007) welcomed the publication of the Environmental Protection Agency’s ‘The Quality of Bathing Water in Ireland’ report for the year 2006.
The Minister was pleased to note that the results for the 2006 bathing season show that the quality of bathing water in Ireland is very good, with 97% of bathing areas complying with EU mandatory standards and 90% complying with (stricter) guide standards.
The Minister stated, that “this Government has been fully committed to maintaining and improving the high standards of our bathing waters”. He is confident that the quality of bathing waters and water quality surface waters generally, will be improved further by significant measures taken during the lifetime of this Government, such as the substantial investment in the Water Services Investment Programme under the National Development Plan, implementation of the Water Framework Directive and introduction of a Nitrates Action Programme.
Although 127 out of our 131 designated bathing areas met the EU mandatory standard, the Minister is disappointed that 4 bathing areas, did not meet this standard. Whilst this is an improvement from last year, when 5 bathing areas failed, it is still a disappointment when bathing areas are non-compliant. The Minister welcomes the efforts of the Office of the Environmental Enforcement, in addressing the previous year’s non-compliant bathing waters, and he looks forward to the continuation of these efforts.
The Minister said that he is pleased that the new EU Directive on bathing water quality will deliver increased health-protection for bathers, and that it will introduce a more pro-active approach to beach management, including public involvement. Member States have until 24 March 2008 to transpose this Directive into national law. The new Directive also aims to make more use of modern communication methods, such as the Internet, to inform the public about the quality of bathing waters.