New equipment for Mourne Mountain Rescue ‘will help save many lives’

New rescue equipment, including an amphibious all-terrain vehicle, will save lives in Northern Ireland, Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots has said.

By PA Reporter
Monday, 6th June 2022, 6:15 pm

Mr Poots visited Castlewellan Forest Park, Co Down, where he saw some of the new equipment funded under the Rural Community Rescue Scheme.

He was able to experience a drive in the lake in the Mourne Mountain Rescue team’s new amphibious all-terrain rescue vehicle and was introduced to some of the highly trained search and rescue dogs operated by the Search And Rescue Dog Association (Sarda).

Mr 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.

Environment Minister Edwin MLA sitting in the front passenger seat while being given a test drive in a new DAERA amphibious rescue vehicle during a visit Castlewellan Forest Park

“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.”

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 minister continued; “I was also privileged to meet some of Sarda’s excellent canine team.

Edwin Poots MLA sitting in the new amphibious rescue vehicle

“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 benefited from new PPE and other key equipment such as mobile defibrillators.

Edwin Poots meeting members of the Search And Rescue Dog Association
Edwin Poots MLA speaking with trainee dog handler Rosie Rowbotham from SARDA Ireland North who is holding dogs Fenrir (left) and Luna (right)