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UK Shipping Minister Mike Penning's praise of staff at Northern Ireland's only coastguard station has been described as 'hollow' by a DUP MLA.
Penning had described his meeting with staff at the Bangor coastguard centre, which is threatened with closure under new streamlining plans, as "a breath of fresh air".
But the DUP's Peter Weir told the Community Telegraph that his praise "rings a little hollow as it is the minister who created the problem in the first place".
He added: "“We cannot be allowed to be the only part of the UK to be without this facility, and the Secretary of State should be making it clear to his colleagues that he feels so strongly about this that he considers this a resigning matter."
North Down Mayor John Montgomery (DUP) also complained that neither he nor his councillors were informed of the minister's flying visit, which had been rescheduled after a previous cancellation.
"Is the Shipping Minister running scared of North Down councillors?" he asked.

UK Shipping Minister Mike Penning's praise of staff at Northern Ireland's only coastguard station has been described as 'hollow' by a DUP MLA.

Penning had described his meeting with staff at the Bangor coastguard centre, which is threatened with closure under new streamlining plans, as "a breath of fresh air".

But the DUP's Peter Weir told the Community Telegraph that his praise "rings a little hollow as it is the minister who created the problem in the first place".

He added: "“We cannot be allowed to be the only part of the UK to be without this facility, and the Secretary of State should be making it clear to his colleagues that he feels so strongly about this that he considers this a resigning matter."

North Down Mayor John Montgomery (DUP) also complained that neither he nor his councillors were informed of the minister's flying visit, which had been rescheduled after a previous cancellation.

"Is the Shipping Minister running scared of North Down councillors?" he asked.

Published in Coastguard
UK Shipping Minister Mike Penning described his meeting with Bangor coastguard staff last week as "a breath of fresh air", BBC News reports.
Last Wednesday Penning met staff at Northern Ireland's only coastguard centre, which is threatened with closure under plans to streamline the UK's coastguard station network.
Minister Penning admitted to BBC News that Bangor was not on the original list of centres marked for closure.
"It was a decision made by myself and the secretary of state and we were honest about that," he said, adding that there was now "acceptance of the people in the frontline that there has to be change and there has to be modernisation".
The minister said no date had been set for a final decision on which stations would be closed.
Meanwhile, the Community Telegraph reports on confusion among the public following the meeting with Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) officials in Bangor on 3 March.
Ian Graham of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union, which represents coastguards, said: “They didn’t really answer any of the questions from the public adequately."
He added that statistics they used in a slideshow to illustrate rescue incident start time were "misleading" as "a lot of rescues can last for hours".

UK Shipping Minister Mike Penning described his meeting with Bangor coastguard staff last week as "a breath of fresh air", BBC News reports.

Last Wednesday Penning met staff at Northern Ireland's only coastguard centre, which is threatened with closure under plans to streamline the UK's coastguard station network.

Minister Penning admitted to BBC News that Bangor was not on the original list of centres marked for closure.

"It was a decision made by myself and the secretary of state and we were honest about that," he said, adding that there was now "acceptance of the people in the frontline that there has to be change and there has to be modernisation".

The minister said no date had been set for a final decision on which stations would be closed.

Meanwhile, the Community Telegraph reports on confusion among the public following the meeting with Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) officials in Bangor on 3 March.

Ian Graham of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union, which represents coastguards, said: “They didn’t really answer any of the questions from the public adequately."

He added that statistics they used in a slideshow to illustrate rescue incident start time were "misleading" as "a lot of rescues can last for hours".

Published in Coastguard
Bangor locals came face-to-face with officials from the UK's Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) over the proposals to close Northern Ireland's only full-time sea rescue base.
The Belfast Telegraph reports that MCA bosses were loudly heckled when they tried to offer justifications for the closure of the Bangor station.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the UK's network of coastguard centres will be scaled back to just three 24-hour stations and a handful of daytime-only centres for the whole of Britain and Northern Ireland.
Supporters of the station said they felt let down at the “bad deal” and “shabby” proposals presented by the MCA and Shipping Minister Mike Penning, who added Bangor to the closures list at the last minute.
BBC News reports that more than 100 people attended the meeting in Bangor on Thursday evening, including members of the public, MLAs, councillors and MPs.
Bill McFadyen, the MCA's regional director for Scotland and Northern Ireland, admitted at the meeting that he was not handed a copy of the proposals until after they had been finalised.
He added: "Of course we will still maintain a high level of service here in NI as we move forward in whatever direction comes out of the consultation."
The Belfast Telegraph has more in the story HERE.

Bangor locals came face-to-face with officials from the UK's Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) over the proposals to close Northern Ireland's only full-time sea rescue base.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that MCA bosses were loudly heckled when they tried to offer justifications for the closure of the Bangor station.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the UK's network of coastguard centres will be scaled back to just three 24-hour stations and a handful of daytime-only centres for the whole of Britain and Northern Ireland.

Supporters of the station said they felt let down at the “bad deal” and “shabby” proposals presented by the MCA and Shipping Minister Mike Penning, who added Bangor to the closures list at the last minute.

BBC News reports that more than 100 people attended the meeting in Bangor on Thursday evening, including members of the public, MLAs, councillors and MPs.

Bill McFadyen, the MCA's regional director for Scotland and Northern Ireland, admitted at the meeting that he was not handed a copy of the proposals until after they had been finalised.

He added: "Of course we will still maintain a high level of service here in NI as we move forward in whatever direction comes out of the consultation."

The Belfast Telegraph has more in the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard
Lesser Spotted Ulster's Joe Mahon was on hand to launch the first comprehensive free visitor's guide to the Lagan Canal recently, the Ulster Star reports.
The new guide provides information on the canal's storied history and its abundance of wildlife from Belfast to Lough Neagh.
Lagan Canal Restoration Trust manager Cathy Burns said: “For the first time this guide offers visitors details of all there is to see and do along the canal.
"We hope that it encourages many more visitors and local people to take the opportunity to get out and experience the hidden gem that is the Lagan Canal."
A Guide to the Lagan Canal, Past, Present and Future is available to download online at lagancanaltrust.org

Lesser Spotted Ulster's Joe Mahon was on hand to launch the first comprehensive free visitor's guide to the inland waterway's Lagan Canal recently, the Ulster Star reports.

The new guide provides information on the canal's storied history and its abundance of wildlife from Belfast to Lough Neagh.

Lagan Canal Restoration Trust manager Cathy Burns said: “For the first time this guide offers visitors details of all there is to see and do along the canal.

"We hope that it encourages many more visitors and local people to take the opportunity to get out and experience the hidden gem that is the Lagan Canal."

A Guide to the Lagan Canal, Past, Present and Future is available to download online at lagancanaltrust.org.

Published in Inland Waterways
Belfast coastguard responded to two requests assisting the Mourne Mountain Rescue Team on Saturday, BYM Marine & Maritime News reports.
The first followed reports of an injured walker in the Glen River Valley around 2pm. Helicopter assistance was stood down due to adverse weather conditions and the walker was stretchered off the mountain.
The second request came after 4pm, after a woman had fallen in a gully at the top of Slieve Begg. Irish Coast Guard rescue helicopter R116 was dispatched along with the South Down Coastguard Rescue team to locate the woman, who suffererd lower leg injuries and was airlifted to hospital in Newry.
Alan Pritchard, watch manager at the NI coastguard control centre at Bangor, urged the public to take care when out on coastal, river or mountain walks.
He also reminded people to dress sensibly for the weather and the terrain, and let others know of their whereabouts in case of distress.

Belfast coastguard responded to two requests assisting the Mourne Mountain Rescue Team on Saturday, BYM Marine & Maritime News reports.

The first followed reports of an injured walker in the Glen River Valley around 2pm. Helicopter assistance was stood down due to adverse weather conditions and the walker was stretchered off the mountain.

The second request came after 4pm, after a woman had fallen in a gully at the top of Slieve Begg. Irish Coast Guard rescue helicopter R116 was dispatched along with the South Down Coastguard Rescue team to locate the woman, who suffererd lower leg injuries and was airlifted to hospital in Newry.

Alan Pritchard, watch manager at the NI coastguard control centre at Bangor, urged the public to take care when out on coastal, river or mountain walks.

He also reminded people to dress sensibly for the weather and the terrain, and let others know of their whereabouts in case of distress.

Published in Coastguard
Proposals to close Northern Ireland's only coastguard control centre "will not diminish safety" at sea, according to the head of the UK's Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
The Irish Independent reports that Vice-Admiral Sir Alan Massey insisted coastal emergency services would be "enhanced" under plans to streamline the British coastguard station network.
Nineteen stations will be reduced to just two 24-hour centres - in the south of England and at Aberdeen on Scotland's east coast. Five day-only centres would also be retained, with one located at either Liverpool or Bangor.
The MCA chief executive said that local knowledge could be enhanced by centres providing services over a larger area.
But a union representative accused the MCA of proposing a skeleton service that could put lives in jeopardy.
Ian Graham of the NI branch of the Public and Commercial Services Union, which represents staff at the Bangor centre, said: ""All the knowledge that people in the station have will be lost forever and that will put everyone who uses the sea and inland waterways at risk."
The Irish Independent has more on the story HERE.

Proposals to close Northern Ireland's only coastguard control centre "will not diminish safety" at sea, according to the head of the UK's Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

The Irish Independent reports that Vice-Admiral Sir Alan Massey insisted coastal emergency services would be "enhanced" under plans to streamline the British coastguard station network.

Nineteen stations will be reduced to just two 24-hour centres - in the south of England and at Aberdeen on Scotland's east coast. Five day-only centres would also be retained, with one located at either Liverpool or Bangor.

The MCA chief executive said that local knowledge could be enhanced by centres providing services over a larger area.

But a union representative accused the MCA of proposing a skeleton service that could put lives in jeopardy.

Ian Graham of the NI branch of the Public and Commercial Services Union, which represents staff at the Bangor centre, said: ""All the knowledge that people in the station have will be lost forever and that will put everyone who uses the sea and inland waterways at risk."

The Irish Independent has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard
Local people will voice their opposition to the proposed closure of Northern Ireland's only coastguard rescue base at a public meeting with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) next month, the Belfast Telegraph reports.
Supporters of the Bangor facility, which provides 24-hour cover for the NI coastline, have also demanded "concrete answers" from UK Shipping Minister Mike Penning, who is due to visit the country next week.
“If he comes here with a positive attitude and says the decision to target our Coastguard was wrong, that’s the outcome we’re hoping for," said Strangford MP Jim Shannon. “If not, then he’s got a fight on his hands. We will take this to Westminster if necessary."
MCA representatibes will meet Bangor MLAs and community leaders on 3 March at the Marine Court Hotel to discuss the proposals.
The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Local people will voice their opposition to the proposed closure of Northern Ireland's only coastguard rescue base at a public meeting with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) next month, the Belfast Telegraph reports.

Supporters of the Bangor facility, which provides 24-hour cover for the NI coastline, have also demanded "concrete answers" from UK Shipping Minister Mike Penning, who is due to visit the country next week.

“If he comes here with a positive attitude and says the decision to target our Coastguard was wrong, that’s the outcome we’re hoping for," said Strangford MP Jim Shannon. “If not, then he’s got a fight on his hands. We will take this to Westminster if necessary."

MCA representatibes will meet Bangor MLAs and community leaders on 3 March at the Marine Court Hotel to discuss the proposals.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard
The surfing website MagicSeaweed has posted a beathtaking pictorial of boarders Al Mennie and Andrew Cotton taking on the incredible Finn MacCools wave at the Giant's Causeway.
"The funny thing is this wave has been breaking right under our noses for years at Northern Ireland's premier tourist spot!" said Mennie. "It's one of those mythical places people often mention, wondering if there are waves out here."
'Al' and 'Cotty' were among the surfers who discovered the now-famous Prowlers wave off the west coast of Ireland last year - the exact location of which is still a closely-guarded secret. SEE VIDEO BELOW

The surfing website MagicSeaweed has posted a breathtaking pictorial of boarders Al Mennie and Andrew Cotton taking on the incredible Finn MacCools wave at the Giant's Causeway.

"The funny thing is this wave has been breaking right under our noses for years at Northern Ireland's premier tourist spot!" said Mennie. "It's one of those mythical places people often mention, wondering if there are waves out here."

'Al' and 'Cotty' were among the surfers who discovered the now-famous Prowlers wave off the west coast of Ireland last year - the exact location of which is still a closely-guarded secret. SEE VIDEO BELOW

More photos and vide on this story HERE

Published in Surfing
Northern Ireland’s only coastguard base was not originally among a list of those earmarked for closure, the Belfast Telegraph reports.
However the Bangor facility was added to the list after a "personal intervention" from UK Shipping Minister Mike Penning.
The minister has confirmed to the House of Commons that the original draft list of closures for streamlining the UK's coastguard service originally named Liverpool as the centre to be shut down.
Now the Bangor control centre is being pitted against Liverpool in the service shake-up as previously reported on Afloat.ie that will leave just three full-time coastguard stations across the UK.

Northern Ireland’s only coastguard base was not originally among a list of those earmarked for closure, the Belfast Telegraph reports.

However the Bangor facility was added to the list after a "personal intervention" from UK Shipping Minister Mike Penning.

The minister has confirmed to the House of Commons that the original draft list of closures for streamlining the UK's coastguard service originally named Liverpool as the centre to be shut down.

Now the Bangor control centre is being pitted against Liverpool in the service shake-up as previously reported on Afloat.ie that will leave just three full-time coastguard stations across the UK.

Published in Coastguard
Northern Ireland Energy Minister Arlene Foster has welcomed the setting up of the Offshore Renewable Energy Forum, tasked with evaulating the potential of Ireland's offshore resources.
"Members of the forum can help shape the sustainable development of offshore renewables in Northern Ireland waters to optimise the economic, social and environmental benefits. Their participation and engagement is essential," said Minister Foster.
Members will look specifically at how Northern Ireland’s offshore resources can contribute to the NI Executive’s 40% renewable electricity target by 2020.
The forum includes members of the previous cross-departmental Offshore Renewable Energy Project Steering Group, joined by key stakeholders Alan McCulla of the Anglo North Irish Fish Producers Organisation; Michael Robinson of Belfast Harbour Commissioners; Ben Diamond of the NI Marine Task Force; David Bell of Invest NI; Kerry Curran of the NI Renewable Industry Group and Cllr Edward Rea of Northern Ireland Local Government Association, representing the NI coastal councils.

Northern Ireland Energy Minister Arlene Foster has welcomed the setting up of the Offshore Renewable Energy Forum, tasked with evaulating the potential of Ireland's offshore resources.

"Members of the forum can help shape the sustainable development of offshore renewables in Northern Ireland waters to optimise the economic, social and environmental benefits. Their participation and engagement is essential," said Minister Foster.

Members will look specifically at how Northern Ireland’s offshore resources can contribute to the NI Executive’s 40% renewable electricity target by 2020.

The forum includes members of the previous cross-departmental Offshore Renewable Energy Project Steering Group, joined by key stakeholders Alan McCulla of the Anglo North Irish Fish Producers Organisation; Michael Robinson of Belfast Harbour Commissioners; Ben Diamond of the NI Marine Task Force; David Bell of Invest NI; Kerry Curran of the NI Renewable Industry Group and Cllr Edward Rea of Northern Ireland Local Government Association, representing the NI coastal councils.

Published in Coastal Notes
Page 23 of 27

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