East Belfast Alliance Naomi Long MP has today met coastguards in Bangor as part of a cross-party delegation of MPs. Naomi is campaigning against the proposed to downgrading of the coastguard station in Bangor.
Naomi Long MP said: “I am extremely concerned at this proposal. It would leave Northern Ireland as the only region of the UK without a full-time coastguard station. Having a station is critical as it provides local coordination for the search and rescue response in the area.
“The Northern Ireland coastguard station also provides a unique role in liaising with the Irish coastguards, and we believe that the expertise and relationships built up over many years in this area could be lost if these proposed changes are adopted by Minister Mike Penning.
“The coastguard in Northern Ireland is also unique in that it provides search and rescue coordination not only for the coast but also for our inland waterways, such as Lough Erne and Lough Neagh. Given their importance in terms of tourism and leisure, having local knowledge is hugely important to providing an emergency response. I trust that the Minister will be convinced of these arguments when he visits on Thursday, and that the coastguard station will not be downgraded. Regardless of pressures on our finances, public safety must take priority.”