Fianna Fáil Councillor Paul McAuliffe has called on the government to secure additional funding for schools to ensure that they comply with new legislation on defibrillators.
The Public Health Availability of Defibrillator Bill 2018 imposes a fine of €10,000 and a possible 12 month prison term if organisations are found in breach of the legislation.
“I am very concerned that schools and particularly DEIS schools which are already underfunded will now be forced to find €4000 to install a defibrillator in their school or else they will face an exorbitant fine or imprisonment. These Boards of Management, which will be responsible for compliance, are made up of parents and teachers and this legislation will place an additional financial burden on them at a time when they are already starved of resources”, said Cllr. McAuliffe.
“I fully support the installation of more defibrillators in schools and elsewhere but the government must commit funding to them instead of trying to pass the buck.
“Unless additional money is allocated to schools, this new law will force parents to fund raise or pay additional voluntary contributions so that they can avoid hefty fines.
“The Bill will also create additional training and maintenance costs to schools’ annual budgets. There are parents in my constituency who simply don’t have the money to pay for this extra financial burden – and the government needs to step in.
“Defibrillators are life-saving devices and should be available in all schools, however the government must also assist schools to ensure that they can be fully compliant with this new legislation and not penalised by substantial fines”.