Further Cuts to Mountain Rescue Services

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The organisation representing mountain rescue teams here has warned that lives could be lost if Government funding of the service is cut further.

Representatives of Mountain Rescue Ireland met members of the Oireachtas to voice their concerns.

The group says its 12-member teams’ workloads have risen steadily in recent years due to a combination of Ireland being marketed as an adventure destination and more severe winters.

However, against this backdrop it says public funding of the volunteer mountain rescue service was cut by 10% in 2010 and is being cut by 30% this year.

The public funding element only meets less than 25% of the cost of running an average team, with the balance having to be met from fundraising.

The teams are appealing to the Government not to cut their funding any further and to put in place a sustainable funding system into the future.

They say that cuts mean more time has to be spent on fundraising instead of training in the mountains, and kit and equipment cannot be maintained and renewed.

In a statement, the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport, which is the main provider of Government funding to the teams, said it had no plans to cut funding further.

It said the earlier cuts had been instigated by the previous Government.