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Gildernew launches new Lough Neagh life boat

31 March, 2008


Sinn Féin Rural Minister Michelle Gildernew MP MLA and Kinnego Harbour Master Paddy Prunty have officially launched a new lifeboat at Kinnego Marina on Lough Neagh.

The new Lifeboat, Bungy 3, will provide a much improved rescue services for those who work on the Lough or simply use it for pleasure purposes. The £120,000 highly specialised boat was part financed by the European Union through the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, as part of the Lough Neagh Strategic Fund.

Jointly launching the lifeboat with the Harbour Master, the Minister said:

"Today is an exciting day for the Lough Neagh Rescue and its volunteer crew. I am proud that my Department contributed £90,000 of funding towards such a valuable resource - a modern lifeboat that boasts the latest technical advances.

"The lifesaving work of the Lough Neagh Rescue is essential and can often prove difficult and dangerous. Not only will this lifeboat help save the lives of fishermen, sailors or any one of the thousands who visit Lough Neagh, it will also help ensure that the dedicated volunteer crew come home safely. Users of the Lough will be able to carry out their water based activities safe in the knowledge that they are within easy reach of the Lough Neagh Rescue should they require assistance."

Lough Neagh is the largest body of freshwater in Ireland and over recent years the increased amount of traffic and callouts on the Lough has highlighted the need for an improved rescue service.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

The crew of the Bungy 3 will be supported in their work by the Ardboe Lifeboat which is called the "David Gray" after David Gray Senior and the Lough Neagh Rescue support boat, the "Gary Breen", which was donated by the Breen family in memory of their son.

Grant assistance for the boat has been provided through the European Programme for Building Sustainable Prosperity as part of DARD's Rural Development Programme 2001 - 2006. This grant assistance formed part of the Lough Neagh Strategic Fund. The Fund is administered by an independent stand-alone organisation known as the Lough Neagh Partnership. The Partnership comprises representatives from local authorities, statutory and community organisations, as well as stakeholders with a particular interest in the Lough.

The Lough Neagh Rescue Boat "Bungy 3" is one of the projects that have been successful in obtaining funding from the Strategic Fund. The boat cost £120,000 and received grant assistance of £90,000.

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