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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

RNLI stands firm as it faces right wing onslaught - just for saving lives

 

Charity has been overwhelmed with supportive messages and offers of donations following Farage and the Daily Mail's attacks

A life saving charity has defended itself after it came under right wing attack for simply doing its job.

The Royal national Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) became the subject of abuse after a tweet by former UKIP leader Nigel Farage.

He posted a picture of lifeboats returning from saving people who had been attempting to cross the English Channel to the UK.

Despite the fact that saving people at sea is the RNLI’s stated mission, Farage – a seven-times failed parliamentary candidate – said the charity had been acting as a “taxi service for illegal immigration”.

Following Farage’s tweet, right wing tabloid the Daily mail picked up the ‘story’.

However the attack seems to have misfired, as the charity was overwhelmed with supportive messages and offers of donations.

In a statement, the charity said: “Our lifeboats operate under international maritime law, which states we are permitted and indeed obligated to enter the waters of other territories for search and rescue purposes," a statement from the charity said.

“Where we believe there is a risk to life at sea, we will always launch. HM Coastguard and the Irish Coast Guard can request any of our lifeboats to launch to an incident.

“We are not border control and, once a rescue is complete, we hand over responsibility for casualties to UK Border Force and/or the police. Our charity exists to save lives at sea. Our mission is to save everyone.

“Our lifesavers are compelled to go to those in need without judgement of how they came to be in the water.

“They have done so since the RNLI was founded in 1824 and this will always be our ethos.”

The RNLI faced a similar attack in 2019 when right wing tabloids and commentators slated it for helping to fund anti-drowning initiatives abroad.

As now, the charity said the tactic backfired and led to an increase in donations.

 

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