Byelaw Drafted To Restrict Dogs On Blue Flag Beaches For Periods During Summer

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Banna beach, one of Kerry’s Blue Flag beaches.

A DRAFT of the proposals for new Beach Bye-Laws for Kerry was revealed at the online meeting of Kerry County Council this morning.

Among the proposed byelaws is one which would restrict dogs on Blue Flag beaches between the hours of 11am and 7pm from June 1 to September 15.

Exception will be made for guide dogs and assistance dogs.

It is proposed horses will also be banned from Blue Flag beaches during the same hours in the same period of the summer.

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Councillors heard the proposed byelaw in relation to controlling of dogs is part of the criteria to retain Blue Flag status for Kerry’s beaches for the coming season.

This criteria in relation to dogs has been in place for many years, but the International Blue Flag jury granted a dispensation for the 2021 season.

However, there is now an increased emphasis placed on the issue and the Jury has directed all applicant local authorities to strengthen the delimitation of the Blue Flag area to exclude dogs, or to instigate a timeline outside of bathing hours when dogs can access the beach.

The Jury has clearly indicated that failure to introduce the appropriate controls for the 2022 season will jeopardise the award of flags for the forthcoming season.

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There was widespread concern among councillors in relation to both the horse and dog byelaw proposals, with most of them indicating they are opposed to restrictions on dogs and horses.

Fianna Fáil Cllr Mikey Sheehy was taken aback at the proposed byelaw relating to dogs. He said it was a “nanny state” move and said it should be resisted by Kerry County Council. He proposed the Council write to An Taisce about the issue.

However, Sinn Fein Cllr Cathal Foley said it was important to consider it was not an all year round ban and it was just for a period during the day, during the summer months and only on Blue Flag beaches.

He said if this byelaw is not passed, Kerry will not have Blue Flag beaches and asked councillors to consider the impact this would have.

Fine Gael Cllr Jim Finucane also said it was important to consider the consequences of not having Blue Flag status for Kerry beaches and not to underestimate the value of such a status.

Sinn Féin Cllr Deirdre Ferris said it was incredible to suggest people staying in mobile homes near Kerry’s Blue Flag beaches during the summer would have to lock their dogs away between 11am and 7pm while they use the beach.

She said this byelaw would result in restricting visitor numbers to the county during the summer months.

Independent Cllr Sam Locke said it was important that the public have their say on the matter and believes there is room to manoeuvre on the issue.

Fianna Fáil Cllr Johnnie Wall said  he could not support the proposed byelaws relating the dogs and horses.

There will be a public consultation process in relation to the draft byelaws, which will be made available for viewing and people can then make submissions.

After submissions have been received and considered, the byelaws will be brought before Councillors again at the May meeting of Kerry County Council.

One Comment

  1. Matty O'Leary says:

    Great news, it’s so sad to see dogs roam free with no lease, dog fouling the sand.

    When you see your child playing on sand that a dog could have fouled on or when dogs run towards them, as a parent it puts a shiver up my spine every time.

    If you want to see what respect dog owners have for society just walk down any street in town or better still a greenway walk – just walk carefully to avoid the dog foul!

    I wish similar bylaws could be passed in towns too.