SDLP Enterprise spokesman John Dallat sent out an urgent SOS last night – Save Our Station.
The south Derry MLA made his plea to delegates at the SDLP’s annual party conference in the Armagh City Hotel.
He was speaking out in favour of saving Malin Head Coastguard from being sunk.
Mr Dallat told delegates: “Politically, this proposal is a disaster because it damages the very principles of cross-border co-operation at a local and practical level.
“The recommendation in the Fisher Report is that Ireland should have two coastguard stations, one in Dublin and the other in Valencia, with Malin Head to close bringing to an end one of probably the most successful, seamless, cross-border services of all times. It is a bit like putting back up the Berlin Wall and it is not acceptable.
“Malin Head Coastguard Station is recommended for closure despite the fact that its officers play a major part in co-ordinating rescues in the North particularly along the Causeway Coast but in many other areas as well.
“Without a shadow of doubt the Malin Head Coastguards are the best example of cross-border co-operation recognised and respected by everyone in the North irrespective of political background.”
He said that at a recent meeting of the Transport Committee in the Dail his party put forward evidence on cross-border activity.
“We pointed out that enshrined in the Good Friday Agreement was provision for the very thing which Malin Head Coastguards have been doing since partition. Interestingly, two of the bodies created since 1998 relate directly to water and tourism – Waterways Ireland and Tourism Ireland.
“In recent times the need for stepping up the relevance of cross-border bodies has been articulated by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil and I have written to both party leaders pointing out the inconsistencies in shutting one of the best working examples of cross-border co-operation while at the same time advocating greater importance for those created under the Good Friday Agreement.
“It is utter madness and, hopefully, with your support, common sense will prevail, politics will count and another madcap idea by consultants can be safely buried once and for all.”