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There’s been widespread anger expressed at the proposed cut in the Coast Guard’s Search and Rescue (SAR) provision for the south east, announced earlier this week by the Department of Transport.
With that in mind, Minister Noel Dempsey’s visit to the area on Monday next to open the second phase of the M9 (Waterford to Knocktopher) has taken on an altogether different significance. While politicians, fishermen and mountain rescue services have vented their spleen on the issue, an online campaign (on Facebook) lobbying to retain the service has attracted 10,000 members in just four days.
The ‘Save 24hr Search & Rescue Helicopter Cover in South-East’ campaign is encouraging the public to attend the M9 opening to vent their fury at Minister Dempsey regarding the proposal.
Taking the online reaction and cheering offered the Coast Guard Helicopter’s way when flying over the city’s Saint Patrick’s Day Parade into account, Monday’s road opening should be interesting to put it mildly.
Writing to The Munster Express, Tramore resident Clare Scott encapsulated the public mood since news of the proposal broke.
“The 24-hour search and rescue is to save lives, the lives of people who scrape a living from the sea or who gain some relaxation or peace from spending time at the seashore,” she wrote. “It is for all of us.”
Ms Scott continued: “When I heard about the cut in the Search & Rescue service, my blood began to boil. This is a life saving service that operates to protect the everyman without care to his personal fortune or his stable of friends.
“It is being cut, in my mind, to retroactively fund those who have crapped on this country and its people…They are out there travelling the world first class, enjoying their tax breaks, giving lectures on success while giving us the finger and sipping champagne in the sun.”
See The Munster Express newspaper for full story.