Swimming banned at Clare beaches


Swimming has been banned at three beaches in Co Clare over concerns about E-coli pollution due to “abnormal” weather conditions.

Clare Co Council, in consultation with the Health Service Executive (HSE), today announced the ban at Lahinch, Kilkee and Spanish Point.

They said public bathing notices and red flags indicating that swimming is prohibited had been placed on the affected beaches. The lifeguard presence at all three remained unchanged.

Lahinch and Kilkee have both had their Blue Flag temporarily removed until water results are within the required quality limits.

“The results of routine tests on water samples at the three beaches have shown up traces of E-coli,” the council said in a statement.

Staff from the council’s environment section and the HSE conducted further tests today, the results of which will be known on Sunday.

“Resumption of swimming will be recommended when results return within bathing water quality limits,” the statement added.

"The water runoff from the excessive and sustained rainfall of the past two months has had a negative impact on bathing water quality at Kilkee, Spanish Point and Lahinch by elevating bacterial levels," said the council’s director of services Anne Haugh.

“Clare County Council has consulted with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), An Taisce and the HSE in relation to the water sample results, which show that each of the three bathing areas are presently within the mandatory limits as stated in the bathing water regulations.

“Levels of contamination in water samples in Lahinch were lower than those detected in Kilkee and Spanish Point,” she said.

However, a decision had been taken, based on the advice of the health authority, to prohibit swimming at the three bathing areas as a precautionary measure. Public drinking water supplies are not affected.

"We would appeal to members of the public visiting the three locations to abide by the public notices,” Ms Haugh said.