Not all of the 12 Blue Flag beaches in the county are patrolled by a lifeguard which has caused concern among locals according to councillor Michael McNamara.
At the Environmental Policy and Agriculture Strategic Policy Committee meeting last Thursday the committee welcomed the retention of 12 Blue Flags for the year, down from 13 last year—Old Head was not included this year.
Director of services Martin Keating said that due to a resource issue, as there is no increase in budget funding for lifeguarding, lifeguards are being used this summer season in “a more flexible way” and will man beaches which are used more. He explained that lifeguards need to work in pairs and to have two at each beach is just not possible.
Cllr McNamara said that he was not happy that lifeguarding was not on all beaches “as people rightly or wrongly assume that it is blue flag beaches that have lifeguards.” He said it was very important that if the Blue Flag is flying there should be a lifeguard as otherwise “it is lessening the status” of what the flag means.
Mr Keating said that the council “got accommodation” from An Taisce as regards the lifeguarding of beaches when the risk and usage was low which has enabled these beaches to retain their Blue Flags.