A new €200,000 Capital Grant Scheme to provide a once-off grant to Mountain Rescue Teams has been launched.
The idea for the scheme was initially raised by Fine Gael TD for Galway West and Mayo South Seán Kyne last December in a Dáil question to Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar.
In the Dáil chamber Minister Varadkar committed to examining his department’s budget with a view to introducing a once-off grant scheme to assist mountain rescue teams in upgrading and renewing equipment including multi-terrain vehicles which are essential to the work the teams carry out.
There are 12 mountain rescue teams in Ireland, including Galway Mountain Rescue Team, who voluntarily carry out essential work in rescuing local people and visitors in difficulty while hill-walking or mountaineering. The teams are funded under a scheme operated on behalf of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport by the Irish Coast Guard which acts as Chair of the National Co-ordinating Committee for Mountain and Cave Rescue.
Deputy Kyne said that this capital grant scheme is hugely welcome for the voluntary mountain rescue teams such as Galway Mountain Rescue and Mayo Mountain Rescue who carry out often life-saving work in assisting people who encounter difficulties while participating in activities on the hills and mountains in Connemara and the West.
“I’ve met with Galway Mountain Rescue representatives on several occasions regarding funding and I’ve relayed the needs of the teams to the Minister. I commend Minister Varadkar for his openness and flexibility on this important issue.”
He added that the funding of €200,000 will enable Mountain Rescue Teams to purchase new vehicles and equipment so that they can continue to provide their essential services which have grown in importance given the renewed emphasis on outdoor pursuits and adventure tourism, particularly along the Wild Atlantic Way.