A recent Newsworthy investigation found that Bray’s South Promenade Beach was closed for 15% of the annual bathing season.
With the annual bathing season running from June 1st until the 15th of September, this investigation has raised concerns regarding the quality of bathing water in North Wicklow.
Deputy Whitmore said “Today’s reporting from Newsworthy about the notices of swimming bans around the country shone a light on the situation we saw in Bray this past summer. During the 2023 swimming season, Bray South Beach Promenade was closed to swimming for 16 days or 15% of the season. It is also worth noting that the number of days on which Irish swimming spots have been restricted in the last decade has trebled.
Deputy Whitmore listed a number of reasons for this, stating that excessive bacteria in the water following heavy rain would contribute to the poor quality. She also stated that climate change would be a significant factor in this in the future, as it will cause heavier rainfall in the year ahead.
“Runoff from agricultural land and urban runoff is another contributing factor to swimming restrictions. This is also about how we use land surrounding water sources, including the sea, in a way that does not harm them. Testing is one key way to identify when sewage or bacteria is at unsafe levels in swimming spots.”
“In a county like Wicklow, where access to our beautiful seaside swimming spots is a source of such activity and pride, I want to see us being more proactive.
“This issue is not limited to Bray South Beach. Silver Strand also had bathing restrictions for 5% of this year’s swimming season. Going into the winter, we need to better handle this issue so that next year’s swimming season doesn’t see restriction notices like we had in 2023.”