Minister O’Brien welcomes the call by the EPA for year-round bathing water tests at popular swimming spots

12th May, 2021

Minister Joe O’Brien (Green Party)

Dublin Fingal

12th May 2021


Minister O’Brien welcomes the call by the EPA for year-round bathing water tests at popular swimming spots


Minister Joe O’Brien has welcomed the news that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have advised that water quality should be monitored year-round at beaches where increasing numbers of people are regularly swimming outside the summer season.

Currently the EPA only uses results from the bathing season – from June 1st to September 15th – when assessing the quality of bathing water.

Minister O’Brien commented:

The agency’s 2020 Bathing Water Quality in Ireland report was published this week and while it is welcome to see that the results show an improvement in many bathing waters, including waters in Dublin City,  I am very disappointed that Balbriggan Front Strand Beach is one of only four bathing areas countrywide described as being of poor quality.

I have contacted Fingal County Council asking them to get to the bottom of the pollution problem at Balbriggan beach and to support more regular testing.”

It is important to note that water quality can change quickly, which is why year-round testing must be implemented so that beaches are not remaining off-limit unnecessarily.  With more and more people enjoying sea-swimming all year round this is vital.

Local Green Party Councillor Karen Power added:

Swimming has been such an asset for people’s mental wellbeing in these difficult times and we are blessed in Fingal with our access to the sea.  At our last Council meeting I tabled a motion asking the Council to write to the Minister for Housing requesting that the EPS be resourced to carry out testing of our waters all year round, so the recommendation from the EPA on this is really great to see. Year-round testing will mean less bans imposed for historical reasons that do not reflect the current safety status of the water. We have seen a surge of people who have taken up all kinds of water sports, from swimming to surfing, and they should be able to carry out these activities with the peace of mind that the water is safe.

The next round of testing is due to happen around May 24th 2021 where hopefully the waters at Balbriggan will be deemed safe for swimming.



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