Ritchie Secures Paterson's Support For Coastguard

“We spoke at length about the needs of the fishing fleet, tourists and the inland and mountain rescue functions of the coastguard that could not be fully served if the station in Bangor was to be closed and Liverpool tasked with overseeing the coastguard requirements of Northern Ireland. [caption id="attachment_21028" align="alignleft" width="400" caption="At the St Patrick centre were John Louden, Louden Guitars, Martin Carey, Mourne Heritage Trust, Jack Ferris, Friends of St Patrick Centre, Dr Tim Cambell, St Patrick Centre Director, South Down MP Margaret Ritchie, Mr Owen Patterson, NI Secretary of State, Down District Council Chairman Councillor Eamonn O'Neill, Janice Symington, Down Business Centre, and Martin Gilchrist, founder of the Social Media Association for Business."][/caption] “We also discussed the fact that the closure of the Coastguard Station at Bangor would mean that Northern Ireland would be the only devolved region with no coastguard station. “I relayed to the Secretary of State the support I received during the recent Westminster Hall debate, where I made the case for the retention of the coastguard station in Bangor to serve our region. “The Secretary of State assured me that he would make every effort to ensure that the decision is made to secure the Bangor Coastguard Station and that he would take a strong message back to his ministerial colleague, Mike Penning. “I look forward to Minister Penning’s visit to Northern Ireland next week where I hope to have further discussions with him on this important matter.” During his visit to Downpatrick, where he was welcomed by Down District Council Chairman Councillor EamonnO’Neill, the Secretary of State enjoyed a visit to the only heritage centre in the world dedicated to St Patrick, the St Patrick Centre. Mr Paterson enjoyed a tour around the St Patrick  Centre and Down News snapped  him having a look over the St Patrick’s Day Festival programme, which hosts the biggest parade outside Belfast in Northern Ireand. [caption id="attachment_21029" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="The Secretary of State Mr Owen Paterson MP, centre, pictured at the St Patrick Centre in Downpatrick looking over the St Patrick's Festival programme with Down District Council Chairman Councillor Eamonn O'Neill and South Down MP Margaret Ritchie. "][/caption] ]]>