Rescue service seek town base

Community News
Community News

The old pump house along the River Bann could be used as a base for the rescue service which helped find the Portadown man who went missing in the Lough Ree tragedy.

Craigavon Borough Council is considering a request from Community Rescue Service (CRS) - a voluntary group which works closely with the PSNI to conduct searches and rescues on land and water - to set up in the area.

A presentation on the group’s work was met with unanimous and enthusiastic support at Monday night’s meeting of Craigavon Borough Council.

Community Rescue Service used advanced sonar equipment to find some vital pieces of evidence, which eventually led to the recovery of fisherman Daryl Burke’s body after more than two weeks.

Sean McCarry, of the rescue service, said the Pump House, which is close to Shillington’s Quay, would give the volunteers somewhere to train, keep their kit and act as a response base.

He also said a rescue boat could be kept on the river. Mr McCarry was accompanied by PSNI Superintendent David Moore.

CRS provides a search and rescue response for missing people throughout Northern Ireland and has 160 volunteers, all of whom are trained to national standards.

It also provides crisis and suicide intervention and community support and education.

Deputy Mayor of Craigavon, Councillor Catherine Seeley said the scale of the group’s work was “wide and invaluable - a reality that came to light during the recent incident at Lough Ree.”

Councillor Darryn Causby said he had visited Lough Ree and had seen the sonar equipment at work. “It was incredible,” he said. “The strongest possible message needs to go back to council officers that every avenue be explored as a matter of urgency.”

Alderman Alan Carson said a close family member had been found close to the Bann - with the intent of taking their own life - but that without the swift help of the PSNI, there could have been a different outcome. He said, “The PSNI are stretched so I am pleased this group could be coming into our area.”

It was agreed that the council explore every avenue “as a matter of urgency” so the group can set up in the area.