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Playing fast and loose with safety

Published 11/09/2009

As a long time opponent to any extension of the runway at the George Best Belfast City Airport, amongst my concerns has been security.

The recent revelation by Sir Reg Empey that the airport authorities have abandoned armed security for a private company at the airport is a very worrying development which should concern everyone.

This cost-saving exercise is playing loose with our safety and security.

The new owners promised no changes which would detrimentally affect the well being of the residents of Belfast. This is clearly not the case.

Over the past number of years ports and airports have seen an increase in security because of the threat of global terrorism.

Here in Northern Ireland, we don't even need to go abroad to be faced by the terrorists as we have our local dissidents which, by their own admission, the PSNI seems ill-equipped to deal with!

With Ryanair proposing to go to more distant locations, many of which are small unprotected regional airports, the threat to Belfast becomes more real. Imagine the damage to this city if such an incident occurred?

It is time for our ministers to stop dithering and either stop the extension or at the very least grant us the public inquiry we deserve so that we can air our concerns.

At times our politicians seem a little too cosy to the captains of industry, but the safety and security of this city is paramount and cannot be compromised for profit.



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