A river rescue group that travel all over the country to assist families whose loved ones are missing require urgent assistance themselves in securing a home.
The Carrick on Suir River Rescue Group, one of the oldest of its kind in Ireland, has been carrying out Trojan work for almost sixty years without any government funding, need somebody to come to rescue them as they try to hold onto the best home they have ever had.
The sixteen strong volunteer group who are on twenty four hour call seven days a week occupy a premises on the north quay in Carrick which was kindly given to them for use free of charge by a businessman last October. That premises is now up for sale however and if a buyer comes along before the River Rescue Group can raise the funds to purchase the premises they will be without a home.
The premises is the most suitable the group has ever had. Up to now boats, jeeps and equipment has been stored in four different locations around the town in loaned premises and private homes. The building that they now occupy allows the group to store all of their equipment in the one location and it is a premises they dearly would like to hold onto.
“We are just hoping that corporate sponsors will come to our rescue on this one.
“This is the most suitable home we have ever had and because we can store everything in the one location it allows us to carry out a more efficient and rapid service,” said group leader Michael Hickey.
“This is the first time in nearly 60 years that we can put everything under one roof.
“It’s important for us to be able to do that because if you get an emergency call it pays not to have equipment scattered all over the place in different locations which could lead to leaving to do a search without vital equipment,” said Michael Hickey.
The groups seven boats, one jeep, two vans, generators, specialised lights, flotation suits and all their safety equipment is catered for at the premises given to them for use free of charge last October by Dan Casey.
“We were very sppreciative when he came along because otherwise we would have had nowhere to go.
“We understand now that he needs to sell the premises and we would love to be in a position to buy it as this place meets all our needs.It would be the dream headquarters for us,” said Michael Hickey.
The group has had an incredibly busy year during which time they have carried out searches in Clonmel, Waterford, five searches in Limerick, a three week search in Galway, seventeen day search in Banagher, Derry, Lifford, Enniscorthy, Union Hall and Strabane on five occasions. In one period of twelve months the group recovered thirteen bodies and took one person alive from the river Suir between Clonmel and Fiddown.
“Our members are very proficient at carrying out their duties on the rivers and at sea, but we would appreciate any advice and assistance on fund raising,” said Michael.
Community members were invited to a meeting at the group headquarters on the quay on Tuesday night last and were briefed on the situation that the g roup now finds itself in.
“We would love somebody with experience of raising funds to come on board to belp us out, somebody that would work on securing corporate donations to help us secure this building,” said Michael Hickey.
Michael said that the public of Carrick on Suir, Clonmel and surrounding areas had always been very good to them on the few occasikons they have had flag days or other fund raisers.
“We also get a lot of people in the community who raise money at table quizzes or other events that give us money which we are very appreciatve of and it helps to keep us going.
“However, we need to bring the fundraising onto a another level now to try and purchase the building,” said Michael Hickey.
“This is the biggest fundraising drive we will have ever have to carry out,” he said.
“A lot of our members would have joined because the tradition was in their families. The group started among the fishermen who dropped what they were doing when there was a need to search the river.
“They would have brought their timber cots to carry out the search and it all started from there,” said Michael.