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Calls for large fines and jail sentences for those that damage defibrillators

Gardaí are investigating an incident in Arklow town in which three men were caught on camera destroying a defibrillator.

Image: CFR

CALLS FOR STRICTER penalties to be imposed on those who damage and interfere with defibrillators have been made by a voluntary group that help fundraise and install the life-saving devices.

Yesterday, gardaí confirmed into an incident in which three men were caught on camera destroying a defibrillator in Arklow.

In the video, seen by TheJournal.ie, one man is spotted pulling the device off a wall by the 7Eleven shop in Arklow and breaking it.

Gardaí pursued the three men and nearly caught them, according to shop owner Bill Nolan.

The kit was only placed on the wall by a first responders charity group five weeks ago. Its value is estimated at around €2,000.

‘Disgusted’

Health Minister and Wicklow TD Simon Harris yesterday tweeted that his is “disgusted” with what took place in the town.

Community First Responder Network (CFR) said the vandalism to the life saving device in Arklow is not a stand alone incident.

“Other incidents have been reported from around the country in recent months,” the group said in a statement this evening.

CFR Ireland has discussed the matter with the minister this week, where it voiced its concerns and called for tougher penalties to be introduced.

A further meeting on the issue is scheduled for January.

Dr David Menzies, Medical Director of CFR Ireland said voluntary groups around the country fundraise to purchase and install these lifesaving devices.

“Penalties for interfering with life buoys include a large fine and/or a significant custodial sentence. CFR Ireland believes the same level of penalties should apply to other life saving devices such as defibrillators. We are grateful the minister has taken this matter so seriously and look forward to significant progress in 2017, ” he said.

John Fitzgerald, Co-Chair of CFR Ireland said:

Damage to an AED installed for public use could potentially result in a preventable death if it were not available when needed in the event of a cardiac arrest nearby.

Following the vandalism of the Arklow defibrillator a number of local businesses have pledged money to replace the device. The 7Eleven shop is now running its own fundraiser to give money to the first responders so they can replace the defibrillator.

In the event of a cardiac arrest, CPR and defibrillation within the first 10 minutes is the most important intervention. The patient’s chances of survival drop by 10% for every minute treatment is delayed.

There are estimated to be over 13,000 AEDs in Ireland.

Community First Responders (CFRs) are civilian responders who are trained to international standards in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and defibrillation.

Read: Three men caught on camera destroying €2,000 defibrillator>

Read: ‘There is no equality between humans’: Bilderberg group website hacked>

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