Ireland has dirtiest beaches in Europe

A European Commission report has rated Ireland's beaches as the dirtiest in the European Union.

According to the report Ireland's beaches just about meet the lowest bathing water quality standards.

The report found that Ireland's Atlantic coast was the dirtiest with 6.6% of Atlantic beaches failing to meet the minimum required standards.

Spain had the cleanest beaches with only 0.4% of Spain's Atlantic beaches failing to meet minimum quality standard.

The EU report mirrors a report released by Ireland's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week.

The EPA found that 122 (93%) of Ireland's 131 beaches met the minimum EU standard.

The EPA said that 82% of all beaches complied with higher standards which was not legally required.

The EU released a virtual map to coincide with the report which grades the 20,000 beaches in the EU.

Ireland was graded the worst with under 7% of it's beaches failing standard tests. The UK had a failure rate of 3%, Spain 2% and France 4%.

The cleanest beaches in the EU were in Greece (99.8%), followed closely by Cyprus (99.1%) and France (95.7).

Ireland's Minister for Environment John Gormley will announce on Monday which Irish beaches have received the prestigious blue flag.

Blue flags are only distributed to beaches that surpass water quality standards

The EU's bathing water quality can be viewed at www.dataservice. eea.europa.eu/map/BathingWater/

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