TUV councillor seeks Coastguard reassurances

MOYLE TUV councillor Sharon McKillop has sought reassurances that the safety of people relying on the Ballycastle Coastguard Rescue Team will not be compromised by the imminent closure of a coastguard station at Clyde.

Cllr McKillop stated: “The closure of the Clyde station was announced in December and since then I have investigated any implications the closure may have upon operations in Ballycastle after discovering that the Clyde station is used when the Belfast Coastguard station needs to communicate with resources in the Ballycastle area.

“Owing to the geography the Ballycastle station sometimes communicates via the the Rhu Stafnish remote radio site. This site is currently connected to Clyde therefore Belfast operators may need to either connect directly to the Clyde’s systems or pass messages via Clyde operators to Ballycastle.

“The Coastguard Agency have assured me that future architecture will mean that all the remote radio sites such as Ballycastle will be connected into two main data centres. Coastguard operators, regardless of where they are based, will connect to these data centres and be able to use whichever radio resources they require at that time.

“This means that coastguard operators responsible for communicating with the Coastguard Rescue Team at Ballycastle, and other rescue resources in the same area, will no longer have to rely on an operator at another station to pass messages through.

“The Coastguard at Ballycastle and throughout Northern Ireland performs a vital role and I therefore trust that the new infrastructure will be in place before the closure of the Clyde station to maintain a quality service in Ballycastle and Northern Ireland,” said Cllr McKillop.