Rescue charity being investigated by Charity Commission

A LIFEBOAT charity serving Lough Neagh is the subject of an investigation by the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland.

It is not known why Lough Neagh Rescue, set up in 1989 after a young man drowned on the lough, is being probed by the regulator.

The local charity, which has three lifeboats stationed at Ardboe and Kinnego, is part funded by councils that border the lough, as well as the Rivers Agency.

Last month the charity was dropped from one of the province’s leading outlet centre’s charity campaign.

In May Lough Neagh Rescue kickstarted a full year’s fundraising program at Antrim based shopping outlet centre Junction One.

But in August cancer charity ‘Eye Feel Good’, also based in Antrim, was announced as Junction One’s charity of the year 2012.

The MAIL made a number of attempts to speak to someone in Lough Neagh Rescue but no-one could be reached.

A Charity Commission spokesperson said it had “no comment” to make on the matter. but added: “However, if we receive a concern about a lifesaving charity, ensuring that public safety is not comprimised will be our number one priority.”

On the charity’s website, a section titled ‘About’ reads: “Lough Neagh Rescue is a Limited Company and a registered Charity, it is managed by a Board of Directors who regularly meet to discuss and plan the future of the service.

“The Board is elected annually and is made up of equal numbers of representatives from both stations. We are part funded by the local councils that border the Lough.

“The Kinnego boat is entirely funded by Craigavon Borough Council whilst the remaining councils, who make yearly discretionary grants to us, help fund the Ardboe boat. Considerable help has also been provided by Rivers Agency and the Loughshores Area Based Strategy throught their grant-aiding of the lifeboats and lifeboat stations.

“The rest of our income is from private donations and is a very necessary part of our financing package. Lough Neagh Rescue is mindful that if it were not for the generosity of the aforementioned then we would find it impossible to continue.”