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Ferris criticises proposal to close Coast Guard stations

23 October, 2007

The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on the Marine, Martin Ferris TD, has strongly criticised a proposal to decommission the Coast Guard stations at Valentia Island, Malin Head and Dublin. This will lead to the loss of 17 jobs in Valentia and further losses in both Donegal and Dublin. Deputy Ferris raised the issue in the Dáil this afternoon in an attempt to have a debate on the matter.

Deputy Ferris said, "The decommissioning of the Coast Guard stations will have serious implications for safety at sea. Anyone familiar with accidents involving vessels off our coast will be familiar with the heroic and often life-saving work carried on by the Coast Guard. To decommission any station, therefore, represents a serious lessening of that protection and leaves large parts of the coastline under-resourced in terms of the response to incidents.

"It is proposed to have one central station at Drogheda on the east coast and at an as yet unspecified location on the Atlantic coast but that is widely believed to be inadequate. However, representatives of those employed by the Coast Guard, in IMPACT, have not been consulted on the proposal and their concerns have not been factored in.

"I strongly urge the Minister to revoke this decision in order to ensure that the proper levels of emergency response are maintained and to preserve the jobs of those currently employed by the service." ENDS

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