Here are two environmental stories where European Union regulations have impacted Ireland in general and Kerry in particular.
Sixteen beaches or marinas in Ireland have lost their Blue Flag status as the result of tougher EU water-quality testing standards, the Irish Examiner reports.
The beach at Ballybunion is among those that failed to win the coveted designation this year. The Ballybuinion News reports “a number of people feel rather aggrieved at the loss of the flag” and blame the Kerry County Council for inadequate storm drain work and excessive flooding earlier this year. The News noted that missing the designation doesn’t mean that it is unsafe to swim at the beach and “visitors to Ballybunion should not be wary of doing so.”
Ballybunion beach from final gather flickr.
The other story involves charges of illegal turf cutting against two Kerry men. About 70 people from Kerry and other West of Ireland counties protested outside the courthouse in Listowel, The Irish Times reported:
The protest was organized by the Turf Cutters and Contractors Association, which is opposing the EU ban on turf cutting on raised bogs.
Turf cutting is prohibited in bogs designated as Special Areas of Conservation. The government is providing compensation to turf cutters where the traditional fuel-digging work is banned. Here are more details from the Peatlands Council.
I know I would love to catch the whiff of a turf fire while ascending the Ballybunion sea cliffs after a long evening walk on that beautiful strand.
Image of traditional turf cutting from Nenaghgal blog.