Fianna Fáil Senators Robbie Gallagher and Diarmuid Wilson have brought forward legislation, Life Saving Equipment Bill, that proposes up to five years’ imprisonment and/or a €50,000 fine for anyone convicted of the theft of, or damage to, a defibrillator or life buoy.
Senator Gallagher commented, “Over the last number of weeks, there have been attacks on public defibrillators across the country. Damage to or theft of a defibrillator is an act of mindless vandalism and could be a death sentence for a person in cardiac arrest if a defibrillator is not readily accessible. We need to ensure that those who damage a defibrillator face serious consequences, we call on all parties to support this bill and to ensure it is enacted in a timely manner.”
Senator Wilson added, “To damage a defibrillator puts lives at risk. Community first responders and others have saved lives in our community with defibrillators. They are positioned in public with community access to ensure someone having a cardiac arrest has swift care and attention with lifesaving equipment. It is disgraceful that people would damage the device.”
The bill was originally introduced in the Seanad in 2018 by Fianna Fáil Senator Keith Swanick and has been reintroduced by Senators Gallagher and Wilson. The Senators are calling for cross party support to ensure the bill’s enactment this year.