Walsh critical of possible summer bathing ban at beach

The possibility of a long term bathing ban at Ballyloughane Beach has again highlighted the urgent need for investment in the country’s water infrastructure, according to local Fine Gael TD Brian Walsh.

Galway City Council has confirmed that it expects a ban on swimming at the Renmore beach to be implemented next summer due to poor water quality. This follows ongoing assessment by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA ). A warning flag about the issue was raised last summer when a ‘Do Not Swim’ notice was erected at the beach on two separate occasions due to problems with the water quality. Infrastructural works have been carried out which should have a positive impact on water at the beach, but sample results from a full bathing season will be required before a reassessment of the classification of the water quality can be carried out - meaning the ban is still likely to be implemented for the duration of this summer season.

Deputy Walsh says the proposed swimming restriction highlights the dire need for investment in the wastewater network, which resulted in the creation of Irish Water. “Ballyloughane was closed twice last summer due to pollution and it looks highly likely that swimmers will again be warned against bathing there this year. This is a direct consequence of under-investment in our water infrastructure, which is outdated, defective, and completely unfit for purpose. We have to deal with that situation now after decades of neglect.’’

The Galway West TD has been in contact with Environment Minister Alan Kelly and Irish Water in relation to the problem at Ballyloughane. He says he has been assured that funding will be provided to carry out works that will prevent this problem from arising again. He says it’s ironic that TDs who have criticised the establishment of Irish Water are now clamouring for the company to provide a solution to the issues at Ballyloughane. “The bottom line is that the solution to this and other infrastructural deficiencies can be provided solely by Irish Water. I will be liaising with the agency in the months ahead to ensure that this situation is remedied at the earliest opportunity.’’

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