Donegal County Council is set to enforce a bye-law to ban dogs from certain areas of Blue Flag beaches during peak times this summer.
From 1st June 2023, dogs will be prohibited from Blue Flag areas at 14 of Donegal’s beaches between the hours of 12pm to 7pm.
The restriction will be in force daily throughout bathing season until September 15th each year.
Outside of the restriction times, dog owners are permitted on all areas of the beaches but are required to keep dogs under control or on a leash of fixed length of less than 2 metres.
Assistance or Garda dogs are not included in the restriction and will be permitted at all times.
The Blue Flag beaches where the bye-law will be enforced are Carrickfinn, Culdaff, Tra Beg (Downings), Fintra, Killahoey (Dunfanaghy), Marble Hill, Murvagh, Narin, Rossnowlagh (Belalt Strand), Stroove (White Bay), Portsalon (Warden Stocker Strand) and Bundoran. On two of the smaller beaches (Bundoran and Shrove) the patrol zone basically covers the majority of the Blue Flag beach so dogs will be prohibited from these locations during Lifeguard hours (12pm to 7pm) over the entire Bathing Season.
A map of blue flag areas on each beach is available at https://donegal.maps.arcgis.com/apps/instant/interactivelegend/index.html?appid=31a615d5b02e488ab221a1aaadbad308
The bye-law is being brought in to allow Donegal County Council to comply with new criteria set out by An Taisce and retain Blue Flag awards at each of the 14 named beaches. The council has made the arrangements to avoid losing Donegal’s Blue Flags while allowing dog owners to continue to enjoy beaches during bathing season.
The bye-laws were proposed at today’s meeting of Donegal County Council in Lifford, at which Cllr Nicholas Crossan raised a question over how the rule will be enforced on beaches that are kilometres long.
“I don’t see how we can manage this,” Cllr Crossan said. “We can’t even stop the dog fouling on our own streets and walks in towns and villages.”
“In theory it’s a great idea. My biggest problem is that we can introduce all the bye-laws we want, but how are they going to be managed.”
Cllr Marie Therese Gallagher, who is on the council’s environment SPC, said that the pros and cons of the policy have all been considered at length, and that the bye-law was seen as necessary to retain blue flag beach standards in the county.