McMurray seeking council support for Mourne Mountain Rescue Team
Alliance Slieve Croob Councillor Andy McMurray is hoping to secure a show of public support from Newry Mourne and Down Councillors for the Mourne Mountain Rescue Team (MMRT) through a motion tabled for March’s full Council meeting.
The motion follows serious concerns raised by the MMRT about a decision by another search and rescue service based in the North West to change their name.
The motion which is due to be heard on Monday 6th March, notes concerns the MMRT have that the name change could impact their ‘practical effectiveness and financial resources’ and commended their ‘invaluable’ service to the people of the area and visitors.
Councillor McMurray said; “A name change is not insignificant. There are major concerns that this could impact the team operationally.
“The change of name from ‘North West Mountain Rescue Service’ to ‘Northern Ireland Mountain Rescue Team’, suggests they cover all of Northern Ireland when this is not the case.
“The Mourne team are by far the busiest team in NI and among the busiest in Ireland.
“There is a real risk that the wrong team could now be tasked in an emergency situation leading to delays in response.
“The MMRT is also a purely voluntary organization which relies solely on charitable donations.
“There are concerns that this name change may also lead to confusion which may impinge on the financial stability of the MMRT.
“This motion is about showing support for the MMRT, who are always there for those enjoying the Mourne Mountains, Slieve Croob, Slieve Gullion and the Cooley Peninsula.
“It also calls on the Council to liaise with the team in order to establish what practical help and support can be given as they seek to secure their position via the Charity Commission.”
The motion Andrew McMurray is presenting to Council reads: “The Mourne Mountain Rescue Team provide an invaluable, indeed lifesaving, service to the High Mournes, Slieve Croob and Slieve Gullion areas which lie within our Council District.
“The MMRT have expressed concern that their practical effectiveness and financial resources could be reduced due to the name change of a rescue team from the other end of the province.
“In order to mitigate against this, it shall be agreed that this Council, by endorsing this motion, both shows full public support for the MMRT as well as liaising with the team in order to establish what practical help and support can be given as they seek to secure their position via the Charity Commission.”
The CCNI website describes the Northern Ireland Mountain Rescue Team – NIMRT (formerly North West Mountain Rescue Team) as an organisation that is involved in training volunteers for the purpose of providing a Search and Rescue facility for the PSNI.
Also, the NIMRT can operate across Northern Ireland with the exception of the Mourne Mountain area where the Mourne Mountain Rescue Team operate.
Further, the NIMRT also The team provides on a free voluntary basis a search and rescue function. It follows up on calls fed through from the PSNI for people ill, injured or lost in isolated, mountain areas.
The NIMRT can liaise with other statutory emergency bodies in order to save lives and ease suffering.