By Dan Walsh
Ballymoney and Courtown will be without Blue Flag status this summer according to Cliona Connolly of the Environment Department at Wexford County Council who addressed members at last Tuesday’s monthly meeting of Gorey-Kilmuckridge Municipal District held under Microsoft Teams under Covid-19 protocols. Cllr Joe Sullivan, Cathaoirleach, presided.
Courtown is being monitored but there are no signs of recovery of the beach as the draft beach bye-laws have gone on display and will be available to public consultation on the website and submissions are welcome until June 8th.
Many aspects of seaside resort life for the months ahead are being looked at, including parking, some potential measures at Cahore and Morriscastle, the anticipated arrival of motor homes and planning issues.
Funding has been applied for restoration purposes at Morriscastle under the National Biodiversity Action Plan for chestnut fencing to protect the dunes and planting when restrictions are lifted.
Details about access to Ballinamona beaches are expected to come before the May meeting.
The booms are still in place on the Owenavarra River following the recent oil spillage and since there has been no significant rainfall since the incident, booms will remain in place and monitoring is ongoing.
A new anti-dog fouling campaign that focuses responsibility on the dog owner will also be strongly enforced along the coastal areas.
Cllr Pip Breen mentioned “facilities for camper vans” as the summer season draws near. Cllr Mary Farrell wondered how the problems of “beach parking” can ever be solved at Cahore and she was conscious of the motor homes. “There was about 10 of them parked at Cahore last weekend on any of the given nights. We can’t continue to encourage tourists to the area if there is no place for them and motor homes seem to be the preferred way of tourism and we need to address the situation,” she concluded.
Cllr Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin was of the opinion that this “is the year of the motor homes” and it is crucial that planning issues are set aside and he knew of a motor home enthusiast who was heading for Cork because he believed Wexford doesn’t have the necessary facilities.
Cllr Andrew Bolger drew attention to the wooden walk at Courtown Harbour leading down to the beach. He felt it could do “with a bit of cleaning” up and he recalled that the glass had been smashed on the notice board some months ago.
Ms Connolly replied that hazards would be removed from the wooden walkway although the beach is closed and will not be opened and is closed off. She added that the glass in the display cabinet – notice board – was to do with the Blue Flag – which will not apply this year and it housed the information around the Blue Flag such as the water quality results.
Cllr Diarmuid Devereux asked how many Blue Flags will be in the Gorey-Kilmuckridge District this summer? Ms Connolly confirmed that Ballymoney and Courtown will not be applying because there are water quality issues at Ballymoney and Courtown has no beach!