Five Irish beaches and one marina have lost their Blue Flag status.

They are Donabate beach in Fingal, Rosses Point beach in Co Sligo, Bunmahon beach in Co Waterford, Duncannon beach in Co Wexford, Greystones beach in Co Wicklow and Athlone Marina in Co Westmeath.

The Blue Flag is an international award given to beaches with excellent water quality, which provide a range of services and which fulfil other criteria including environmental management and education.

Three Irish beaches have gained Blue Flag status.

They were awarded to Dollymount Strand in Dublin, Culdaff beach in Co Donegal and Morris Castle beach in Co Wexford.

Blue Flags were awarded this year to a total of 78 bathing areas and two marinas.

Minister for the Environment John Gormley said it is disappointing for all when flags are lost.

His department added that losses are due to deterioration in water quality in some areas, which resulted largely from the heavy rainfall last year.