Momentum Steps Up on Coastguard Campaign

February 17th, 2011

North Down’s MP, Lady Hermon, today welcomed a cross-party delegation of MPs to the Coastguard headquarters in Bangor as part of her campaign to save Northern Ireland’s only remaining Coastguard Centre.

The Department for Transport is currently consulting on its proposals for the modernisation of Coastguard services, which could see Bangor losing out to the Coastguard Centre in Liverpool.

Speaking from Bregenz House, the home of N. Ireland’s Coastguard, at the conclusion of the visit, Lady Hermon said: “I greatly appreciated the support today (Monday) of other MPs - Jim Shannon of the DUP, Margaret Ritchie, Leader of the SDLP, and Naomi Long of the Alliance Party – when we visited Northern Ireland’s only remaining Coastguard Centre at Bregenz House in Bangor.

The meeting with Coastguard staff and a senior representative of the Maritime & Coastguard Agency was very useful indeed, and ran much longer than anticipated.  With the representative of the Agency choosing to spend most of the time in an adjacent room, Coastguard staff were free to respond frankly and in detail to the questions we MPs posed about the modernisation proposals.  As a result, we collectively felt much better briefed and are now in an even stronger position to persuade the Shipping Minister, Mike Penning MP, that Northern Ireland cannot be the only part of the United Kingdom left without a Coastguard Centre.”

Having invited Secretary of State Owen Paterson, the Shipping Minister and other key political players to visit N. Ireland’s remaining Coastguard in Bangor, Lady Hermon continued: “Mike Penning MP is due to visit Bregenz House later this week, when I will be pleased to have the opportunity to introduce him to both the First and Deputy First Ministers.  Whilst that meeting is scheduled to last only an hour, I suspect that it too will run over schedule, particularly as the Secretary of State will also be attending.”

“We know we have a fight on our hands to save Northern Ireland’s last remaining Coastguard Centre in Bangor, but it’s a fight that has brought together the collective will of the various political parties here.  Together, we are fighting to win”, she concluded.

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