TD BACKS DEFIBS IN SCHOOLS CAMPAIGN
A local TD has backed a call from a Rush school principal to have defibrillators installed in every school in the country in the wake of a dramatic incident that saw a nine-year-old boy collapse in the school playground.
The boy fell unconscious in the playground at Gaelscoil Ros Eo but due to the quick actions of school staff and the school’s proximity to the local GAA club which had a defibrillator machine, the nine-year-old has made a good recovery from a situation that could have ended very differently.
The incident prompted school principal, Tim Ó Tuachaigh to front a public campaign calling for the installation of defibrillators in every school in the country.
The campaign has already made it to the floor of the Seanad when it was backed by Fingal senator, Lorraine Clifford Lee and now a Fingal TD has put his weight behind the campaign.
Deputy Brendan Ryan TD (Lab) said he supported calls by Gaelscoil Teo principal Tim Ó Tuachaigh to install defibrillators in all schools as a life-saving measure.
Deputy Ryan said: ‘ There should be a programme put in place to provide defibrillators to all our schools. It’s a vital modern day piece of life savings equipment. We have them in Leinster House so why not our schools.’
The Labour TD added: ‘Having defibrillators in schools should be the equivalent of lifebuoys beside lakes. Installing defibrillators in schools could be rolled out over a number of years, with appropriate training for teachers and school staff.’
He concluded: ‘It’s essential to the modern day first aid kit.’
Mr ó Tuachaign said he has been disappointed by the Department of Education’s response to the campaign for defibrillators in schools, so far. He said the Department has ‘passed the buck’ to the Department of Health and are shirking their responsibilities.
He said to fit every school in Ireland with a defibrillator would cost less than €8 million which he said ‘is not a great deal of money in the grand scheme of things’.
The school principal has rejected the title of ‘ hero’ for his role in the incident at the school and said that it was a ‘ team effort’ in the day that involved about five members of staff directly but needed the whole school community’s co-operation in dealing with it effectively.
The school was rewarded for its effective action on the day with the presentation of defibrillator recently, donated to the school by the Ciaran Carr foundation and the school intends to add a second portable defibrillator to take with it on school trips.
The school principal said that paramedics told him on the day that the nine-yearold boy collapsed in the school yard, that if CPR and the defibrillator had not been applied at the incident, it would have been a ‘very different result’.
The boy has since left hospital and is recovering well at home but the incident has lit a fire in the school principal who is now determined that every school in Ireland should have a defibrillator.
The issue reached the floor of the Seanad recently with Senator Clifford Lee saying: ‘ This shocking and traumatic incident has highlighted a glaring gap that must be addressed. The Department of Education must explore the possibility of introducing them in schools.’
Frances O Regan, Tim Ó Tuachaigh, Síle Ní Rabhartaigh, Ella Ní Dhuailing, Diarmuid de Barra, Jane Ní Ghiobúin, Bríd Nic Dhonnacha, Antoine Óg Ó Mainín and Siobhán Ní Uptáin.