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07 Dec 2021

Kildare Senator: Clarity is needed on National Register for defibrillators

Ballymahon defibrillator group member helps save man's life

File Pic

A Senator from Kildare has said that clarity is needed on the National Register for defibrillators.

Speaking in the Seanad , Labour Senator Mark Wall, who represents Kildare South, said: "I have previously raised this matter, the urgent need to record the location of all automated external defibrillator (AED) lifesaving devices, for which many communities around the country have fundraised."

He added that are some "wonderful" initiatives in place around the country, such as in Enniscorthy and in Laois, where there are developed apps that show the exact location of these AEDs.

Senator Wall continued: During a commencement matter debate, the Minister of State at the Department of Health, Deputy Frankie Feighan, informed me that I had given him the chance to speak about the exceptional work carried out by those in these communities and that he expected that the funding provided by the Government in 2021 will result in real progress in the development of an AED register, and the HSE is already making progress on some of the practical elements that need to be done in that regard."

He said that, when following up on this progress, his colleague, Deputy Duncan Smith, received the following reply from the Minister of Health this week, four months on:

"The location, maintenance and upkeep of these devices is a matter for the supplying organisations. The HSE is not responsible for the supply or upkeep of AEDs. As such, an AED register would not be within the scope of the Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest Strategy."

Commenting after the debate in the Seanad, Senator Wall elaborated on what he felt was the importance of AEDs across Ireland: "We are all aware of the tremendous work of first responders in this country and the wonderful groups who fundraise in their communities to provide these AEDs."

"There is something seriously wrong here and the Minister needs to clarify what is going on... these AED’s provide an essential national life-saving service, recording their locations will only enhance their availability when needed most."

He concluded: "I cannot understand what has happened in four months; the Government must clarify what has changed."

In related news, Senator Wall welcomed the recent announcement that a long-awaited ring road will finally be constructed for the town of Athy.

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