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Proposed legislation could see people who damage life-saving equipment sent to jail

A defibrillator in Mallow was vandalised over the weekend.

22228204_1641838295867704_4820114279846000191_n Mallow Search and Rescue / Facebook Mallow Search and Rescue / Facebook / Facebook

22221924_1641838292534371_1858594113258817338_n Mallow Search and Rescue / Facebook Mallow Search and Rescue / Facebook / Facebook

Updated 11.40am

A DEFIBRILLATOR IN Mallow in Co Cork has been vandalised.

The casing of the life-saving device, which has been used a number of times, was broken on Saturday night.

John Woulfe of Mallow Search and Rescue told Patricia Messinger on C103’s Cork Today programme it looks as though someone punched the defibrillator and broke its casing.

In the coming weeks, the Oireachtas is set to debate new legislation that could jail and/or impose a large fine on those convicted of tampering with a life-saving device such as a defibrillator or lifebuoy.

Woulfe said the defibrillator was damaged between 9.15pm and 10pm on Saturday.

“It’s not the first time it’s been vandalised, but it’s pretty permanent this time. We can’t fix it, we’ll have to get a new casing for it,” he said.

The defibrillator is kept in a special casing, which is a vital part of the device. Woulfe said the casing is “very expensive” and will cost around €800 to replace.

He said the fact someone would damage a piece of life-saving equipment which is for the benefit of the whole community is “brainless and mindless” and “mind-boggling”.

Defibrillators are used to help restart a person’s heart in the event of a cardiac arrest.

You’d see them in towns all over the country. Very rarely you’d hear of anybody vandalising something like that, that’s a piece of equipment that’s there for the whole community.

“It was donated to us by the credit union in Mallow, we were very grateful. It’s a fantastic idea to have them around the place,” Woulfe said.

He added that one man said he saw “a bunch of young lads running away” from the machine on Saturday night.

Anyone with information has been asked to contact Mallow Search and Rescue or local gardaí on 022 31450.

Prison sentences

Dr Keith Swanick, Fianna Fáil’s health spokesperson in the Seanad, said the incident in Mallow is “a disgrace”.

Vandals need to know that there are serious consequences arising from the theft of or damage to life-saving equipment such as defibrillators or lifebuoys.

Swanick has drafted new legislation called the Life Saving Equipment Bill 2017 which could jail and/or impose a large fine on people convicted of tampering with a life-saving device.

“The legislation is due to be debated in the coming weeks and the incident in Mallow highlights again the need for strong legislation to act as a serious deterrent to the thugs who routinely damage or steal life-saving equipment all over Ireland,” Swanick said in a statement to

At the time of publication, almost 16,000 people had signed an online petition supporting the legislation.

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