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Donegal senators come out fighting 28.02.08

DONEGAL senators put party politics aside yesterday to fight for the future of the embattled Malin Head Coast Guard station.
Senators Pearse Doherty, Cecilia Keaveney and Brian Ó Domhnaill echoed each other in the House after the Government signalled its intention to press ahead with plans to axe Malin Head and Valentia as marine rescue co-ordination centres.
Malin Head Coast Guard station. The local senators were joined by their counterparts representing the interests of the people of Valentia, Co. Kerry.
Junior Minister Michael Ahern, who stood in for Minister Noel Dempsey, said the two stations in question were old, run down and in need of significant modernisation.
Mr. Ahern said Minister Dempsey believed that a new site on the west coast - believed to at Shannon - would have to be "a technically robust location, well served by transport and infrastructure and also be situated where all staff can live within close proximity to enable them to respond in an emergency".
There were angry claims of "an agenda" at work at senior management level within the Irish Coast Guard to axe the two long-serving sites in favour of a new one.
Meanwhile, the Donegal senators strenuously argued that claims of telecommunications and electricity deficiencies at Malin Head were inaccurate and had to be disregarded.
Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty told the House it was incomprehensible to take jobs away from rural locations such as Malin Head and Valentia when the Government was, at the same time, pursuing a policy of decentralisation throughout the country.
Fianna Fáil Senator Cecilia Keaveney vociferously urged her colleagues in Government not to fix what wasn't broken and to "leave well alone". "If this service can happen anywhere in the country, then leave it where it is," she said.
The Donegal senators vowed to keep up their campaign to save Ireland's most northerly marine rescue centre. If you would like to support the ongoing petition to save Malin Head Coast Guard station, email your name and address to  wesupportu@inishowennews.com .
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