Black fears impact of any Coastguard changes

BALLYCASTLE SDLP councillor Madeline Black is appealing for people in and around the north coast to sign petitions in the campaign to save the Northern Ireland Coastguard Co-Ordination Centre.

Under recently announced proposals the Coastguard co-ordination facility in Northern Ireland could close altogether with service provided from Great Britain or else the local centre could be downgraded.

Opponents of the move fear lack of local knowledge or difficulty in understanding accents could lead to the loss of life in an emergency.

Cllr Black is urging people to make sure their voices are heard in calling for the Northern Ireland Centre to remain as it is and she says people should sign online petitions.

She said: "This could affect the safety of people in the Ballycastle and north coast area as the Coastguard does a champion job.

"We need as many co-ordinators in Northern Ireland as we can get as local knowledge can go along way.

"Moyle Council has written to the Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Coastguard about this but I would urge local people to sign the online petitions and also to lobby MLAs.

The public can register their support on Facebook "Causes" "Save NI Coastguard" or complete the official consultation response form online by 5pm on March 24 2011 at www.mcga.gov.uk