€200k handed to mountain rescue as one-off grant

Kerry mountain rescue in action.

A special one-off grant of €200,000 has been awarded to Mountain Rescue Ireland, as the number of rescues has increased nearly four-fold over the past 10 years.

The Transport Minister Leo Varadkar today announced the grant, which will be used to buy new vehicles and equipment.

“Mountain rescue teams play a hugely important role in supporting trekkers and mountaineers," Minister Varadkar said.

“My Department has stabilised current funding for mountain rescue since the general election, providing €363,000 for day to day operations since then.

"But having met Mountain Rescue Ireland earlier this year, and discussed ongoing issues with equipment and vehicles, we also decided to provide a special once-off sports capital allocation."

Chris England from Mountain Rescue Ireland said the grant amounts to almost a full years' running costs, and comes after their funding was cut by around 40% between 2008 and 2012.

Minister Varadkar said he also plans to discuss the oversight arrangements with the Justice Minister, Frances Fitzgerald. Currently, mountain rescue teams are tasked by gardaí, funding is organised by the Department of Transport, and the Coast Guard chairs the coordinating committee.

Varadkar said a better arrangement was needed.

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