Ritchie Questions UK Government On HM Coastguard Cuts Following Days Of Flooding

During today’s House of Commons statement on recent flooding SDLP MP for South Down Margaret Ritchie has questioned recent UK Government cuts to coastguard services.

[caption id="attachment_44443" align="alignleft" width="360"]Margaret Ritchie MP has criticised the government's cuts to the Coastguard service. Margaret Ritchie MP has criticised the government’s cuts to the Coastguard service.[/caption]

Speaking from Westminster Ms Ritchie said: “The flooding and tidal surges experienced in South Down and across the north are a reminder of how vulnerable we are to the elements and I want to commend the incredible effort from the emergency services, the coastguard, and volunteers to protect people during this time and to minimise the impact.

“However today when I questioned the UK Secretary of State for the Environment Owen Paterson, he could not defend his government’s cuts to the coastguard service. This will inevitably put more people at risk when we face extreme weather events. Such occurrences are seemingly more frequent, with recent events a stark warning against any further cuts to the service in Northern Ireland and I will be asking the Minister for Transport to confirm that there are no plans to do so.
“The danger still remains and I would urge people to be careful and remind them that they can pick up emergency sandbags from the Down District Council Depot on Strangford Road, Downpatrick to protect their property,” added Ms Ritchie.