People have been warned by Meath County Council not to go swimming at Bettystown Beach due to an increase in levels of ecoli and enterocci bacteria found in a water sample taken this week.
It is understood that the sample was taken on Monday and the council have advised people to avoid the water. A spokesperson has said: “If people are determined to take a dip, they are advised to avoid swallowing water, wash their hands before touching food and avoid swimming with an open cut or wound”.
Pregnant women or those with a weakened immune system have been advised to stay clear of the beach altogether, for now.
A stomach illness had been reported to Local Fianna Fáil Senator Thomas Byrne by someone who used the beach during the good weather.
Mr Byrne said: “While there is no definitive connection I am calling on Meath County Council to erect prominent signage advising people of the possible dangers until the advisory is over,” he said.
Byrne also called for a full investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency into the cause.
The council said higher levels of bacteria are usually short-lived and most bathers are unlikely to experience any illness. However it also said the likely cause and duration is unknown.
The water has since been resampled yesterday and results are due back tomorrow.