Cutting hours makes 'absolutely no sense'

THE PROPOSAL to end the 24 hour Air/Sea Rescue helicopter service has been slammed by Deputies Sean Connick and Brendan Howlin, with the Fianna Fail TD also coming in for stinging criticism from the Labour man.

According to Deputy Connick it makes 'absolutely no sense' to reduce the operating hours of the service.

'There is a great deal of concern in coastal communities throughout the South East region over these proposals, particularly in areas where people depend on the fishing industry to make a living. There have been a number of high profile sinkings of fishing vessels in Wexford and Waterford in the last decade and we should be increasing rather than decreasing the services we provide to ensure the safety of fishermen and other water users,' he said.

While Deputy Howlin shares Deputy Connick's concerns, he has said it's time for Wexford's Fianna Fail TD's to either 'put up, or shut up'.

'They are Mighty Mouse in the constituency but Minnie Mouse in the Dail. They either support their own government's policy or they don't,' he said. He added that they should be standing up to their government and demanding that the decision to cut the hours be reversed.

Deputy Howlin added that this was a 'vital issue' and a 'matter of life and death for the people of the south and eastern coasts'.

'If there is just one calamity, we will all then wring our hands, but then it will be too late; he said.

He added that the €1m savings that will be made by curtailing the service is negligible. 'That amount of money will be lost through NAMA in about 25 minutes,' he said. 'It makes no sense'.

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