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Fears over Belfast Coastguard station staff levels

Belfast Coastguard station is still being staffed at dangerous levels following recent cuts to the service despite Government assurances that this would not happen, an MP has said.

At the end of January it was revealed the Coastguard station was staffed below safe levels on 414 occasions out of 730 shifts last year.

In response to a written question from SDLP MP Margaret Ritchie, Secretary of State for Transport Stephen Hammond assured her that, having recruited more staff in 2013, it was now "above complement".

But yesterday Ms Ritchie said: "It is therefore deeply worrying to find out that the station was again undermanned on six shifts in the first month of this year."

She has called on Mr Hammond to explain why this has happened.

Belfast Telegraph