A garda yesterday highlighted the importance of first-responder skills after saving a publican’s life.

Garda Paul Ruby was hailed a hero in Co Kerry after a former publican collapsed in a car park.

The Cork-born garda, based in Killorglin, was alerted by colleagues after Jim O’Shea suffered a cardiac arrest.

Gda Ruby had recently completed his recertification as a first responder, with advanced skills.

“I can’t advocate enough for people to have training in CPR,” he said after the daytime drama. “It does work, it is effective.

“I remained calm. And I stress to everybody who encounters a situation like that to remain calm.”

The 39-year-old garda spent 25 minutes working on Mr O’Shea who eventually came around and is now recovering in Kerry University Hospital.

The pair met on Wednesday when the garda visited the patient at the Tralee hospital.

“It was a great privilege. We met in much better circumstances than we did the day before,” he said.

Mr O’Shea, living locally, had stopped on Tuesday to chat with two other gardaí in the Fair Field car park in the town centre, when his eyes closed and he suddenly collapsed.

The gardai immediately summoned their colleague to the scene.

At that stage, father of three Mr O’Shea was lying on the ground, unconscious.

Gda Ruby said anyone faced with a dilemma, of someone having a heart attack or unconscious, should “remain calm”.

He also advocated more people, if not everyone, in local communities should familiarise themselves with the whereabouts of defibrillator devices, even if they do not have CPR skills.

Killorglin has a number of defibrillators and some bystanders knew there was one nearby in the CYMS hall.

The cardiac ambulance had also been called.

Gda Ruby said he did not notice the time involved, 25 minutes, as time had become irrelevant.

“Adrenalin and wanting to save someone’s life kicks in,” he said.

The garda said members of a men’s shed project were also on hand and they too had been trained in CPR.

“It was a team effort,” he said modestly.

Originally from Blarney, Gda Ruby has been based in Kerry for a number of years.

He said that many gardaí have first-responder skills. However, he added that everyone should have such training.

Mr O’Shea is married to Breda and they formerly ran the Vintage Inn in Killorglin. They have three daughters, Gráinne, Kerry, and Tara, who is in Australia.

Mr O’Shea’s family have met with the garda and want to arrange another meeting with him.

Gráinne O’Shea said: “Only for Garda Ruby and where my father was, he wouldn’t be here today.

“We are so grateful. He saved my father’s life.”


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