An ENNIS-based Councillor Mary Howard has called for stricter penalties for those who vandalise defibrillators.
At a recent meeting of Clare County Council, she also requested that the Minister for Health ensure that all future publicly-accessible defibrillators be fitted with a sensor that would notify emergency services once it has been removed from its holder.
Speaking about the vandalism of the items, Councillor Howard said, “Last December, we saw CCTV footage of a group of 16-year-olds in Arklow in County Wicklow pull a defibrillator off a wall and proceed to kick it back and forth, destroying the unit.
“In January, a defibrillator was destroyed in Cork for the fourth time. The list goes on. These life-saving devices cost in the region of €2,500 to be replaced.”
She said it would be important to have defibrillators fitted with devices that would discourage vandals.
“In the future, I would like to see these units fitted with a SIM module and internal camera, so that when the cabinet is tampered with or opened, the camera will take a picture and the SIM module will then email the picture to whoever is looking after the unit or emergency services.
“I also believe stricter penalties should be imposed on those who damage and interfere with defibrillators, similar to those penalties for interfering with a lifebuoy, which include a large fine and/or a significant custodial sentence.”
At the council meeting, Councillor Ann Norton said that defibrillators in Ennis are generally covered by cameras but the more that is done to ensure they are not damaged, the better.
Councillor Ian Lynch also agreed that it is essential they are not damaged.
By Owen Ryan