The families of two nuns who drowned in Co Kerry last summer have contributed towards the cost of a defibrillator which might help save lives.
The community at Inch, the well-known beach area in the Dingle Peninsula, is raising funds to buy the equipment.
Efforts to provide resuscitation on the beach on Aug-ust 14 last, failed to save the lives of Sr Imelda Carew and Sr Paula Buckley, both members of the Presentation Order.
The nuns, holidaying in Kerry, had been swimming when they got into difficulties. The nearest defibrillator was in Annascaul village about 8km away.
Soon after the tragedy, the community set up a committee to provide a defibrillator at a cost of around €3,500.
Since then, fundraising has been under way, with some of the money coming from a Christmas Day swim at Inch. Upwards of €3,000 has been collected so far.
Chief fundraiser Kay O’Shea yesterday said it took 25 minutes to bring the defibrillator from Annascaul on the day of the drownings.
“As Inch is a busy beach, it definitely needs its own defibrillator which we hope will be in place in time for the coming summer season. It will be located close to the beach restaurant where many people congregate.
‘’The public has been very generous with their donations and we’re grateful for all their support.’’
The nuns’ families have contributed €1,400 and the remainder of the money has come from some local events.
Ms O’Shea said that it was intended to invite the bereaved families to the unveiling of the defibrillator later this year.
A Fones4Life programme whereby schools, communities, and sports clubs collect old mobile phones and exchange them for lifesaving equipment is also being availed of by locals.
Sr Imelda, 67, a native of Kilmore, Dundrum, Co Tipperary, and Sr Paula, 70, from Camas Bridge, Cashel, Co Tipperary, were swept out to sea after getting out of their depth. After being taken from the water, valiant efforts were made to revive them through CPR continued for about an hour.
They were later pronounced dead at Kerry General Hospital in Tralee to which they had been flown by Coast Guard helicopter.
The drownings were investigated by gardaí and inquests have yet to be held.
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