Minister Simon Harris handed over Donard former Garda Station to Glen of Imaal Mountain Rescue Team and Baltinglass Irish Red Cross in Co Wicklow recently.
Irish Red Cross Secretary General Liam O’Dwyer was in attendance as the Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW) officially handed over the keys.
“Donard as we all know, is an excellent base for hillwalking enthusiasts and I am pleased that this former station can be put to good use by these wonderful voluntary organisations.
“We all appreciate the excellent voluntary service the members of these organisations provide, both in times of emergency and in a community setting and I have no doubt excellent use will be made of the facilities here,” Minister Harris said.
The centre will be used for First Aid and defibrillator training, services for community events, a mountain rescue command post and a unified location for all emergency responders during rescue operations.
"This base will facilitate with the call outs that we receive on Lugnaqullia and other mountains in the west of Wicklow. It will also store essential equipment needed by personnel reacting to call outs and for some of our training,” Paul Ashmore, Chairman of the Glen of Imaal Mountain Rescue Team said.
Hannah Cuddy of Baltinglass Red Cross said the members were excited to be moving to a permanent home, “after some years of moving between Blessington and Baltinglass”. “We are extremely grateful to the OPW for their generosity in providing us with this base,” she added.