The future of Galway Mountain Rescue Team is in doubt if its funding deficit is not redressed, it has emerged.
The Committee of Galway Mountain Rescue Team recently held a team meeting to present to the members the financial challenges they face and members learned that the funding scheme created by Government to pay insurance costs for mountain rescue teams has ended with no replacement scheme in sight.
For nearly 40 years the team has responded to calls from the Gardaí to deploy into upland and mountainous areas to answer calls for help, however Galway is now facing the prospect of the team being stood down over the absense of insurance cover.
Each member commits to being on call 365 days a year, 24-7, to respond to emergency call outs and trains year round, paying for the costs of their personal equipment and all travel costs, and the addition of insurance expenses may prove a step too far for the volunteer unit.
In addition, the team faces losing its vehicle launch base at University Hospital Galway, from which they have deployed, returned, trained and inspected equipment. However construction work is due to take place there shortly and with the contractor taking possession of the site this facility will no longer be available.
There is no alternative location at present to facilitate this vital work. With no location to assemble and depart from, the potential of the team’s emergency response is degraded.
Galway Mountain Rescue Team is now calling on rescuers, hill walkers, tourists and concerned citizens to lobby their local Councillors or TD for funding to keep the service running.