Coastguard station closure would be a ‘tragedy’ - MLA

The Malin Head Coastguard Station were yesterday due to control of one of the most modern and best equipped radio stations in the world yet a consultant’ report recommends its closure, says East Derry SDLP Assembly Member.

The MLA has has renewed his call to the Dublin government to put the Fisher Report “to bed once and for all and recognise that Malin Head Coastguard Station is vital to people on both sides of the border every day of the year”.

He said: “This week has been one of the busiest for the station for vital work in rescuing people on both sides of the border.

“On Tuesday the Coastguard Helicopter was on a mission on the Mourne Mountains when it was called back to Malin Head to save two young boys whose boat had sunk leaving them stranded on rocks. This incident could have ended in tragedy had it not been for one of the officers who was able to direct the helicopter to the remote place where the boy were. Only coastguards with local knowledge could have done this.

“Two days earlier the coastguard at Malin Head picked up a distress call from a boat foundering at the Bar Mouth near Coleraine and again was able to relay the call for help to the coastguard at Belfast who were then able to organise the RNLI to the stricken vessel. Two people were rescued.

“These are only two examples of several missions in the last week which help to demonstrate why the Malin Head Coastguard Station is indispensible to all of us in the northern part of this island.

“Yesterday was a proud day for the coastguards, but what a tragedy it would be if this was to be short-lived. What a nonsense it would be if the best example of a seamless cross-border body involved in the noble task of saving lives on both sides of the border before and since partition was to be uprooted and relocated in Dublin,” he said.