FINE Gael TD for Donegal North East, Joe McHugh, has today (Wednesday) welcomed the recommendation by the Minister for Transport and Toursim, Leo Varadkar TD, to continue with the coastguard services from Malin Head and Valentia Island coastguard stations, describing the move as a victory for common sense.
“Minister Leo Varadkar’s confirmation today that he will recommend the retention of Malin Head and Valentia Island in the national coastguard stations network is a victory for common sense.
“The retention of Malin Head and Valentia Island coastguard stations will preserve the long-standing relationships between fishermen and the Malin Head and Valentia Island stations, which are a vitally important element in delivering the high quality coastguard services on which Irish fishermen and the Irish marine industry rely.
“I applaud Minister Varadkar and coastguard service workers for the very sensible approach taken following the presentation of the Fisher ‘Value for Money’ Report to the Government last summer.
“Minister Varadkar obviously gave consideration to the findings of the report; he equally made time to speak with coastguard operatives, and he travelled personally to Malin Head coastguard station to observe the work that operators carry out there.
“I brought Minister Varadkar to Malin Head coastguard station on July 27th last, so that he could see first-hand the quality of the service it provides.
“I also met with Minister Varadkar in his office at the Department of Transport on two occasions to emphasise my belief that any changes to Irish coastguard services should strengthen the roles of Malin Head and Valentia Island coastguard stations.
“I also participated in a public meeting at Malin Head coastguard centre on this matter on October 5.
“The confidence that Irish coastguard workers have shown in the quality of the service that they provide has been very strong, right since the publication of the Fisher Report last July.
“Coastguard staff may have been tempted to react unilaterally to the publication of the report; instead, the operators took a positive approach and engaged proactively with Minister Varadkar.
“In these difficult times, it is not possible to win every political battle. Thankfully, common sense has prevailed in the review of coastguard services.”