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Life-saving devices are vandalised – again

February 2nd, 2016 10:05 PM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Tom Sweeney of Mary Anne's bar in Masseytown, Macroom, with Macroom Community Defibrillator Group members Anita Blake Gallagher and Brian Gallagher, and the new defibrilator unit which is now under constant CCTV monitoring. (Photo: John Delea)

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A PIECE of life-saving equipment in Macroom has had to be moved due to the amount of times it has been vandalised. 

It’s not the first time that the town’s 10 defibrillators – the machines that can help someone in the event of cardiac arrest – have been tampered with. I

t has been an ongoing problem since they were first installed in 2009.

‘This is vandalism that could cost someone’s life,’ said Brian Gallagher from the Macroom Community Defibrillator Group.

‘The defibrillator at Masseytown was one of the most vandalised in the town so we had to move it across the road outside Mary Anne’s bar, after the owner Tom McSweeney offered us the spot for it. Hopefully it won’t be tampered with, as there is CCTV installed outside these premises. People were used to where this particular one was, but we would like to publicise that it’s now just across the road, at Mary Anne’s.’

Brian is urging the people of Macroom to be vigilant and keep an eye on the boxes. Although they have reported the tampering incidents to gardaí, the culprits  have not yet been apprehended.

‘Usually the glass key housing is broken by someone or, worse still, the keys are stolen which then means the defibrillator is out of action for a time, as a special key has to be cut, and this might be the very time when someone needs to use it.’

It costs €35 to replace the entire glass unit, and €10 to get a replacement key and this is unfortunately a common occurrence for the team that monitors the defibrillators.

‘The defibrillators can save a life quickly if they are available and every minute in the case of cardiac arrest is vital. So it could be a disaster in a panic situation if one defibrillator was found to be broken,’ said Brian. ‘If they continue to be vandalised, then we would have no choice but to remove them but we don’t want to do that,’ he added.

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