Poots comes to the rescue in Castlewellan Forest Park

DAERA Minister Edwin Poots visited Castlewellan Forest Park to see first-hand some of the new rescue equipment funded under the Rural Community Rescue Scheme.

Mr Poots was able to experience a drive in the Mourne Mountain Rescue team’s amphibious all-terrain rescue vehicle, funded under the scheme, and was introduced to some of the highly trained search and rescue dogs operated by the Search And Rescue Dog Association (SARDA).

Having been driven into the lake in one of the new amphibious vehicles, the minister commented: “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.

“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 4x4 vehicles specially kitted out and an Argo Cat cross country amphibious rescue vehicle.

Mr Poots continued: “I was also privileged to meet some of SARDA’s excellent canine team.

“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 4x4 dog carrying vehicles funded by DAERA, after receiving a grant of just under £94,000.

Both organisations also benefitted from new PPE and other key equipment such as mobile defibrillators.