AFTER successfully gaining the unanimous support of Moyle District Council for his proposal calling for a search and rescue helicopter to be permanently located in the North, SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has now launched an online petition to further publicise and increase support for the issue.
Cllr Cunningham said: “The North currently relies on a system which transfers the emergency calls from Belfast MRC to the HMS Gannet SAR Flight Unit in Prestwick, Scotland, which is 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.”
Anyone wishing to add their name to the epetition should log onto http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/34993.