Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister, Edwin Poots MLA has visited Castlewellan Forest Park where he saw first-hand some of the new rescue equipment funded for Mourne Mountain Rescue under the Rural Community Rescue Scheme.
The minister was able to experience a drive in the team’s amphibious all-terrain rescue vehicle, funded under the scheme and was introduced to some of the highly trained search and rescue dogs operated by the Search And Rescue Dog Association (SARDA).
Having been driven into the lake in one of the new amphibious vehicles, Minister Poots said:
“It was great to be able to see first-hand this new rescue equipment which will assist Mourne Mountain Rescue in accessing difficult to reach terrain.
“More importantly it will give tourists and visitors confidence to enjoy our rural countryside, mountains and waterways.
“The equipment is also going to help save many lives going forward.”
The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has recently funded Mourne Mountain Rescue £207,000 grant aid towards new equipment including two 4×4 vehicles specially kitted out and an Argo Cat cross-country amphibious rescue vehicle.
The minster continued:
“I was also privileged to meet some of SARDA’s excellent canine team.
“SARDA’s objective is to assist in the search and rescue of missing persons on the hills and like Mourne Mountain Rescue is a voluntary emergency search and rescue service.
“Everyone should feel safe now enjoying our countryside.”
SARDA showed the minister one of their two new 4×4 dog-carrying vehicles funded by DAERA, after receiving a grant of just under £94,000.
Both organisations also benefitted from new personal protection equipment (PPE) and other key equipment such as mobile defibrillators.