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Summer swimmers need safe water

21 May 2024

Labour leader and TD for Dublin Bay South Ivana Bacik has welcomed the EPA report that 97% of designated bathing locations met or exceeded the minimum standard.

However, Deputy Bacik said that the failure of Sandymount Strand to meet the quality test should urge the enactment of a Dublin Bay Taskforce, as proposed in Labour’s Dublin Bay Bill.

Deputy Bacik said:

“The recent spate of heavy rain is a cause of concern for all of us, but particularly year-round and seasonal sea swimmers. With the climate crisis upon us, we can expect to continue to see more extreme weather events, including heavy rain during the summer months.

“The EPA’s report into the quality of our bathing water is timely, as many will look to take weekend trips to Ireland’s beautiful coast. Yet Sandymount swimmers have reason for concern, as the quality of water in Sandymount Strand is deemed ‘poor’. We welcome news that the relevant local authorities and Uisce Éireann have plans to improve water quality on beaches that failed the test, but we need to see a more joined up approach in Dublin in particular.

“Labour’s Dublin Bay Bill provides for the establishment of a new statutory authority to take on responsibility for co-ordinating the work of the many agencies and bodies currently engaged in planning and development of the Bay Area.

“The creation of this Authority would ensure improved governance and oversight of Dublin Bay more generally, stronger environmental protection and overall enhancement of the Bay area. 

“A key focus for the Dublin Bay Authority would be ensuring the monitoring and improvement of water quality for our year-round swimmers – this is an essential initiative to improve the amenities of the Bay area and to protect public health.

“Our Bill received Government support in principle in September 2022 and I hope that the EPA report published today will encourage Government to come back to the Bill and support a new vision for Dublin Bay.

“We need to act now to enhance and protect the bay and coast into the future.

“Dublin Bay is one of the greatest resources our city has.  We all have memories and connections to the Bay. It’s the view that often welcomes us home when flying into Dublin, it’s where many of us learnt to swim, sail or paddle. For others it’s the location for the opening chapter of Dublin’s great novel, ‘Ulysses’. All Dubliners have strong connections to the body of water that stretches from Howth to Sorrento Point. Let’s protect it for all.”