Donegal Sinn Féin TD, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has described news that the Malin Head Marine Rescue Coordination Centre at Malin Head Coastguard station is to be retained and upgraded as “a victory for people power and common sense”.
Deputy Mac Lochlainn had actively supported the campaign to retain the centre over recent months.
He congratulated the Malin Head coastguards and the local community on their successful campaign to retain the centre.
He said: “In November 2003, the people of Malin Head, Inishowen and the North West were assured that the then Minister for Communications, Marine, and Natural Resources, Dermot Ahern would act on the Deloitte/ Touche report at that time and make Malin Head and Valentia the two centres to operate the Marine Rescue Coordination Centre in the state.
“Not only were these centres to be maintained, the third Dublin centre was to be phased out and they were to be upgraded in terms of technological capacity and personnel.
“Despite this assurance, the Dublin centre was maintained and upgraded and the Malin Head and Valentia centres were threatened with closure.
“After a hard fought campaign, both centres were maintained and Malin Head has recently been renovated.Those renovations are the outcome of a long campaign by local public representatives, fishermen, community activists, and the entire community in the North West to secure the long-term future of the centre/ station”.
“The recommendation by Fisher consultants to close the Malin Head MRSC while substantial renovations were on-going was plain daft. The Minister and his Government should have immediately rejected this suggestion and allayed the concerns of the people of the North West”.
He added: “The shadow that has hung over this centre’s future was always entirely unjust.The campaign fought by the local community in Malin Head and North Inishowen on behalf of the staff at the centre, ably supported by leading community activists in the peninsula and by all the local political representatives has proven to be successful. This is a ray of sunshine in tough times. It is a victory for people power and common sense”.