THE tireless work of Lough Neagh Rescue has been praised in the corridors of power at Westminster.
The volunteers work the waterway 365 days a year, and have become a vital lifeline for stricken sailors when they get into difficulties.
As well as plucking people from the Lough and towing vessels back to base, they have been an integral part in major search operations. Indeed, six-weeks-ago one of their crews recovered a body from the murky waters.
South Antrim MP Paul Girvan reflected on their ‘fantastic work’ in the House of Commons this week.
He was speaking during a debate on Independent Lifeboat Funding - an issue close to LNR who rely on charitable donations.
The DUP man argued that their role was simply too important to be dependent on fundraising and called on government to ensure that they had the support to keep their heads above water.
“As Member of Parliament for South Antrim I am extremely proud of the fact that we are home to Lough Neagh Rescue, who protect people using the largest inland waterway in the whole of the United Kingdom,” he told the chamber.
“Lough Neagh Rescue has a proud history of protecting the wide variety of users of the lough for over 30 years and I want to take this opportunity to put on record my heartfelt thanks to all the volunteers and those involved in this life saving work.
“As a charity Lough Neagh Rescue depend upon the generosity of the public of South Antrim and beyond.
“COVID-19 has severely impacted upon their ability to carry out fundraising events and street collections.
“COVID, however, has not stopped the need for their work. With the lough continuing to grow in popularity their service is needed more than ever.
“It is vital that the Government now come forward with a support package for Independent Lifeboat Services across the United Kingdom, to ensure the amazing work of Lough Neagh Rescue can continue.”