For over 100 years the Coastguard Station at Malin Head has been responsible for saving lives along the North Coast, but in recent times has been the subject of a consultant’s report which recommends its closure, says East Derry SDLP Assembly Member John Dallat.
A long-term supporter of the cross-border work of the Irish Coastguards, Mr. Dallat has been lobbing the political leaders and parties in Dail Eireann advocating the critical role the station plays in savings lives along the Causeway Coast and beyond.
Speaking after the round of meetings he said: “The Coastguard Station has provided a seamless cross-border emergency service since partition and during the darkest days of The Troubles.
“It is one of the best examples of cross-border co-operation and it would be political madness to close the Coastguard Station at Malin Head.
“I am confident with the response I and my colleagues in the SDLP delegation received from the political parties in Dublin. I feel the main parties realise just how important Malin Head Coastguard Station is, but it was important for the deputies to hear that from someone like me representing a large part of the coastline in the North.”
Mr. dallat said he had the opportunity to pay tribute to the people who staff the Malin Head Coastguard Station and to “emphasise the high regard they are held in by everyone in the North for their ability to co-operate with the coastguards here locally”.
“I sincerely hope this issue can be put to bed once and for all in the full knowledge that the Irish Coastguard Service, centred at Malin Head is indispensible to all the people in the Northern part of this island both in the Republic and Northern Ireland.
“Apart from the political leaders I had the opportunity to meet Donegal TDs including Joe McHugh (Fine Gael) and Charlie McConnalogue (Fianna Fail) and will continue to liaise with them on a regular basis.”
He said in terms of cross-border communications the delegation also raised the future of the Foyle Ferry Service and the need to make the Derry rail link part of an all-island network.
“On both accounts we are happy that the Irish government is now ready to step up their energies towards closer co-operation on a cross-border basis and hopefully at last the North West will have communications and transport networks which are part of a normal society which doesn’t have the added difficulties presented by partition,” he said.