Parties back Foyle Search and Rescue

Volunteers at Foyle Search and Rescue in Derry have said their emergency response times could be doubled if they are unable to use flashing lights when responding to calls.

The volunteers had been using flashing lights but, following a collision with a police vehicle, discovered they were not covered by PSNI insurance and not allowed to do so.

Local politicians have intervened in an attempt to fund a solution to the problem.

Foyle MP Mark Durkan said he has raised the issue at Westminster. “I have spoken to colleagues at Westminster and to staff at the House of Commons library to investigate some of the issues that are raised by this and to see what practices and precedents there are elsewhere,” he said.

Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney said he would speak to the Justice Minister about the matter. “I have been in contact with both FSR and the PSNI and have now written to the Minister requesting a meeting to explore the most appropriate manner to proceed which will ensure that the essential service carried out by FSR, is recognised and that personnel responding to emergency situations can do so secure in the knowledge that they have proper insurance cover,” he said.