DANISH midfielder Christian Eriksen inspired a motion at the local authority meeting his week, when members backed a call for funding for defibrillators and training for communities across Clare.
Councillor John Crowe recalled the dramatic scenes at the Euro 2020 match against Finland last month, when the 29-year old suffered a cardiac arrest and was saved thanks to prompt intervention with a defibrillator. “The European Championships brought it home to everyone,” he said. “What happened to Christian Eriksen really highlighted the issue and showed what a defibrillator can do. The Minister for Health should be looking at a scheme to fund defibrillators and training and €1,700 for a club or village is a very small price to be looking at. We should write to the Department to seek money for communities. Every second family has heart problems going down the generations.”
The Fine Gael member also recommended that all councillors receive training.
The motion was seconded by Councillor Cillian Murphy. “This is particularly close to my heart, if you’ll pardon the pun,” he said. “Kilkee has an active team of first responders and the use of defibrillators has been the difference between life and death for a number of people. I’m happy to fund this through my General Municipal Allocation (GMA). The Department should be doing more, but we as councillors also have the opportunity to feed into it.”
Councillor Donna McGettigan said she fully supported the motion and added that the big issue is making people aware of the location of the defibrillators. “We do need a list of where all the defibrillators are,” she said. “It’s an issue because people don’t know where to find them.”
Councillor Joe Garrihy commended the motion and agreed that more needs to be done to publicise their locations. “An audit of they there are would be a big piece of work, but really worthwhile,” he said.
Councillor Pat Daly said the GAA is doing great work in this regard. “There are defibrillators in almost every club,” he said, “and they have saved many lives.”
The importance of training was emphasised by Councillor Ann Norton. “Young and old need defibrillators,” she said. “When you see a young, healthy, athletic man needing one, you realise how important they are. I agree that we need to promote the location of defibrillators and it’s hugely important to have people trained. It really gives you a feeling of power when you’re trained because you have the ability to try to save a life, but training lapses after two years and it’s really important that we encourage people to keep up their skills. You don’t know what day or what hour you’re going to need them.”
Councillor Joe Cooney described the motion as “excellent”. “Trojan work is done voluntarily,” he said. “Training and maintenance are very important when it comes to defibrillators. These are vital pieces of equipment.”
Councillor Mary Howard outlined her membership of a group comprising the National Ambulance Service (NAS), the Red Cross and Civil Defence. “The most important place to have a defibrillator is in a housing estate,” she said. “Statistically, most cardiac episodes happen at home. New modern defibrillators will actually tell you exactly what to do.”
Thanking members for their support, Councillor Crowe expressed the hope the motion would go further. “We need to get nationwide support on this,” he said.