Man who destroyed defibrillator pays for new one after seeing RTÉ’s Crimecall

Man who destroyed defibrillator pays for new one after seeing RTÉ’s Crimecall

The defibrillator that was destroyed in the early hours of New Year’s Day.

A man who admitted to destroying a life-saving defibrillator has come forward anonymously to pay for a new piece of this vital equipment as a result of RTÉ’s Crimecall airing the incident.

The automated external defibrillator (AED) located outside the Dinn Rí restaurant and bar on Tullow Street in Carlow Town was destroyed in the early hours of New Year’s Day, when its protective screen was smashed, rendering the device, which costs several thousand euro, unusable.

The result of the vandalism was that the defibrillator was unavailable for five days which could have possibly put someone's life at risk as early access to a defibrillator along with compressions is key in the event of a cardiac/respiratory arrest.

After footage of the incident was aired on Crimecall last month the culprit came forward showing “genuine remorse and didn’t realise the consequences that his actions could have had,” said a spokesperson Carlow Town Community First Responders (CFR) which is a voluntary community group.

“These were explained in detail by Carlow Town CFR and the individual has since covered the cost of a new Outdoor Heated AED Unit which we hope to place in a new location within the town centre bringing another 24-hour public access defibrillator to the community.

Alongside this, the individual has attended training sessions with Carlow Town Community First Responders and has been educated in the delivery of CPR and AED usage which may someday be used to save someone's life.

“For a negative act, a positive has in some ways come out of it. The matter is being handled by the Gardaí.” The damaged defibrillator was the first in a roll-out of which Carlow Town Community First Responders funded a further 18 units across Carlow Town and neighbouring Graiguecullen in Co. Laois.

Caroline Darden, a co-ordinator with Carlow CFR, said that defibrillators are not government funded, but “are funded by communities and volunteers, so for another person to come and destroy that, it’s very disheartening".

“It’s a thermostat-controlled unit, so if you remove the cover it makes the AED unusable.” Carlow CFR is one of many groups calling for cross-party support for the Life Saving Equipment Bill, 2018, which is currently before the Seanad.

This draft legislation would impose a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment, a €50,000 fine or both for those convicted of interfering with life-saving equipment, including defibrillators and lifebuoys.

“People who vandalise these are putting lives at risk, and TDs and ministers should be pushing for this bill to be put into law,” added Ms Darden.

“It started in 2017, and it’s now 2022. We need that Bill to be put into law. CFR Ireland is in support of it, the gardaí are in support of it. I don’t know of any group that isn’t”.

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