Tuesday 17 September 2019

Wexford beaches are key tourist attraction

One of the No Swimming signs.
One of the No Swimming signs.

By Esther Hayden

Six per cent of people visit the beaches of Wexford every day according to Mr Forde proving their popularity.

Engineer with Wexford County Council Gerry Forde said 30 beaches in the county have bylaws and added that nine of these have been awarded a Blue Flag award or a Green Coast award. Four have Blue flags while five have a Green Coast award.

Six beaches are designated bathing spots. He said it was hoped to increase the number of Blue Flag and Green Coast beaches this year.

Mr Forde said the bylaws are in force 'primarily for the safety of all beach users'.

He said in the past there had been problems with people using quad bikes on the beach and also bringing horses onto the beach. Jet ski use has also been a concern, he said, although this is now under control and is largely policed by local organisations.

66 beaches around the county have public access.

Cllr Mary Farrell said the beaches of the county were a great 'natural amenity and should be exploited'.

However she raised concerns that Morriscastle Beach, a blue flag beach, had seen a No Swimming sign erected for a couple of days during the summer months without explanation.

'It created havoc', she said. 'Is there any way to make it known why it is unsafe to swim? People were asking and nobody knew why and I believe in this instance there was nothing wrong.'

Cllr George Lawlor also raised the idea of purchasing equipment which would allow for disabled access to the beach.

He said he had seen equipment in other countries and they were very successful.

Access to beaches was a concern for Cllr John Hegarty. 'We have some of the finest beaches in the country but the access to them is not safe.'

He pointed out Knocknasillogue Beach as one of such example. The members were told it is very difficult to 'maintain access at Knocknasillogue in the winter because of the very steep access'.

Wexford People

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