A CORK senator has criticised the decision to downgrade Garretstown Beach from its previous blue flag status.
Speaking in the Seanad, Fine Gael Senator Tim Lombard called for Minister Eamon Ryan to intervene on the issue and rein in An Taisce.
“We’re stuck in a scenario that An Taisce, in their wisdom, have declared that one of our beaches in beautiful west Cork isn’t now up to blue flag status because the recycling isn’t within a 20 meter location of the beach,” said Mr Lombard, adding that An Taisce carried out what he described as a “desktop study”.
“They have never put a foot on the beach, because if they did, they would see that these two beaches, which are actually joining, has a recycling centre right in the middle of them.
“We have given An Taisce unbelievable powers regarding the blue flag status. They are now determining who gets a blue flag status.
“An Taisce has lost the complete faith of the public in Cork over this issue and they need to be brought to task, and they need to be brought in by the minister,” he added.
Mr Lombard appealed to the leader of the Seanad, Lisa Chambers, to use her powers to write to the minister to “intervene immediately” to ensure that Garretstown Beach attains the designated water standard that it enjoyed.
An Taisce’s decision is “ridiculous,” added Mr Lombard in a statement.
“In order to qualify for the Blue Flag award, a series of strict environmental, educational, safety-related and access-related criteria must be met and maintained. Bathing water must comply with the excellent standard in accordance with the 2006 EU Bathing Water Directive.
“Garrettstown continues to meet these criteria, including the 2006 EU Bathing Water Directive, and it shares a recycling facility with its sister beach at Garrylucas,” he said.