Council backs ‘copter call

BALLYCASTLE SDLP councillor Dónal Cunningham has welcomed Moyle Council’s decision to lobby for a search and rescue helicopter to be based permanently in the North.

A proposal from Cllr Cunningham was unanimously backed by Council colleagues.

He said: “Currently the emergency calls are transferred from Belfast MRC to Prestwick in Scotland, (the busiest search and rescue unit in the UK), if a helicopter is not available there, the Irish Coastguard Helicopter Rescue teams are then engaged, normally this is Sligo but there have been occasions when the only units available have been Dublin or Limerick. The travel times from Prestwick are already a concern, never mind travel times from Sligo or Dublin.

“A permanently based search and rescue helicopter in the North could also provide support to the entire north of Ireland and to Scotland and the Western Isles.”