O’Sullivan: ‘CPR should be mandatory in secondary schools’

Published on: 25 January 2024

Fianna Fáil TD Christopher O’Sullivan has called for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training to be made mandatory in secondary schools.  

Speaking in the Dáil the Cork South West TD said CPR can double, and sometimes treble, the chances of survival in the case of a cardiac arrests. 

"Every ten minutes that pass without CPR reduces the chances of survival from cardiac arrest by 10%," Deputy O'Sullivan said. "In Ireland, only 80,000 of a population of about 5 million, are trained or know CPR. Bystander CPR is proven to save lives.

“About 70% of cardiac arrests take place in the home so it is vital that we train our teenagers in our schools with the skills to save lives. It’s possible to train new lifesavers.” 

Deputy O’Sullivan added that CPR was an optional course when he was in Transition Year in school, and that it remains an optional course in most secondary schools 20 years later.  

“It’s optional rather than mandatory in most schools,” he said. “We need to make it mandatory and also introduce refresher courses, so that all students know CPR. It would help saves lives.”   

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, in response, said he believes it’s a “good idea” that every student is trained not only in CPR, but also basic life support.  

“It could be done in a day,” Taoiseach Varadkar said. “It would certainly save lives and reduce the impact of injuries.”  

But he cautioned that the Department of Education receive calls for many different subjects to be introduced to the secondary school curriculum.   

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