The Irish Red Cross launched their new ambulances for the Mayo, Tipperary and Laois divisions today at the Claremorris centre, alongside a rescue boat for the Corrib/Mask Search and Rescue unit.

Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring launched the new vehicles for the first responders which were partly funded by his department’s LEADER programme.

E98,000 was donated towards the vehicles by the Government this year as well as E45,000 from Irish betting company Lottoland.

Irish Red Cross Chairman and National Director of Units Pat Carey and Tony Lawler applauded the funding to the first responder units.

They told Midwest Radio News that the renewal of their fleet is of vital importance to the organisation.

Minister Michael Ring highlighted the importance of making sure first responder units like the Red Cross are adequately funded.

He told Midwest Radio News that the volunteers in the Red Cross should spend their time doing their important work rather than fundraising.

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