The quality of Ireland's bathing waters remains high with 98.5% of identified bathing areas meeting the EU mandatory standards, according to a new report from the EPA.

The Environmental Protection Agency report says 83% of bathing waters around the country met higher EU guideline standards and are classified as being of ''good'' status, down from 90% last year.

Five new bathing areas were formally designated last year bringing the total number 135.

Of the total, only White Strand in Miltown Malbay in Co Clare and Clifden beach in Co Galway were of poor standard.

Five local authorities received good status for all their identified bathing waters - Dún Laoghaire Rathdown, Louth, Mayo, Meath and Wicklow Co Councils.

Stricter standards are to be introduced in two years' time.