Ministers heap praise on Lough Neagh Rescue

Minister of State at the Department for Transport Robert Goodwill MP enjoys a welcome "cuppa" as members of the Lough Neagh Rescue crew give him a run down of the workings of their rescue vessel

Minister of State at the Department for Transport Robert Goodwill MP enjoys a welcome "cuppa" as members of the Lough Neagh Rescue crew give him a run down of the workings of their rescue vessel

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Both UK Transport Minister Robert Goodwill and NI Justice Minister David Ford have commended Lough Neagh Rescue during station visits over the last week.

Robert Goodwill met the charity last Friday, when he toured NI search and rescue crews his department has had a hand in funding in the past few years.

Justice Minister David Ford takes the helm of the Lough Neagh Rescue lifeboat with coxswain Paul Magee. Picture: Michael Cooper

Justice Minister David Ford takes the helm of the Lough Neagh Rescue lifeboat with coxswain Paul Magee. Picture: Michael Cooper

Lough Neagh Rescue was awarded £70,000 from Westminster to fund rescue vehicles, personal protection equipment and training for its many volunteers.

During his visit to the charity’s newest station - Antrim - Mr Goodwill heard how the money is protecting people from drowning on the lough.

He said: “It was a pleasure to meet search and rescue crews, coastguards and other marine staff in Northern Ireland. I can’t thank them enough for the professionalism and commitment they show every day, year after year, often risking their own lives, to keep people safe.

“I was very pleased to hear that a rescue boat funded through last year’s UK government grant to Lough Neagh Rescue was used to save a canoeist’s life while out on the very first training exercise.

“Thanks to the bravery of staff and volunteers, the equipment we have funded this year will help keep people safe for many years to come.”

During his visit to Lough Neagh Rescue’s Kinnego station, NI Justice Minister David Ford, also paid tribute to the organisation.

He said: “Lough Neagh Rescue has been providing a rescue boat service on Lough Neagh for almost 30 years, and I am delighted to have had the opportunity to see one of their stations and hear about their invaluable work.”

A spokesperson for Lough Neagh Rescue said: “Lough Neagh Rescue was honoured to host UK Transport Minister Robert Goodwill and NI Justice Minister David Ford last week. Both government departments have been extremely supportive of our life-saving work on Lough Neagh. Through funding and grants they have helped LNR tremendously.

“LNR prides itself of keeping crew up-to-date with the latest search and rescue training and some of DoT’s £70k grant will be used to up-skill an already proficient team.”