Fianna Fáil Senator Keith Swanick has raised the need for the Life Saving Equipment Bill 2017 to progress in the Seanad. A little over one year has passed since the Bill moved to Committee Stage.

Senator Swanick commented “There is urgent need for this legislation to progress. The Bill proposes to introduce specific penalties, including hefty fines and custodial sentences, for those who engage in this careless behaviour of destroying lifebuoys and defibrillators around the country.

“This is not the same as defacing a park bench, pulling a bin off a pole or using graffiti. Destroying defibrillators and lifebuoys directly leads to unnecessary deaths and the penalties need to reflect this.

“We also need to bear in mind that many of these defibrillators are put in place through volunteerism in communities and they are not State funded. Volunteers in GAA clubs and community groups put defibrillators in place in their towns and at their GAA and soccer pitches and sports facilities.

“I understand at least 20 lifebuoys go missing every week in Cork. Each costing €50 to replace. You cannot put a cost on the risk to life that is caused by those reckless actions. I am calling on the government to progress and support the Bill when it comes back to the Seanad,” concluded Deputy Swanick.