Fingal Independent - - NEWS - John MAN­NING

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.

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