News & Media

A National Register must be developed for life saving defibrillators

15 June 2021

Statement by Senator Mark Wall
Spokesperson on Defence, Tourism and Sport
  • State should consider a repair and upkeep scheme for defibs
  • All schools should have defibs installed

Labour sports spokesperson Mark Wall has called on the Minister for Sport to urgently develop a national register of all defibrillators in the country. Speaking in the Seanad today, Senator Wall said the State must consider a repair and upkeep scheme for life saving defibrillators which would include updated training for all community first responders.

Senator Wall said:

“When the young, fit professional player Christian Eriksen’s dropped to the ground suffering a cardiac arrest during the Euros, there is no doubt that a defibrillator saved his life. The medical team on site jumped into action and with the aid of an AED, the player was stabilised and a life was saved.

“The Irish Red Cross estimate that there are 8,000 - 10,000 public access defibrillators in Ireland. But there is evidence that some are not being checked regularly and therefore may not be working. A study by the Health Information and Quality Assurance Authority (Hiqa) found instances of battery failure and inaccessible location of defibs.

“We need to have a central register of all the available defibrillators in the country and regular inspection to ensure they are working. We need to involve the Community First Responders who are embedded in our communities and get them the training and funding they need to be able to certify and log these AEDs on a central system.

“The Labour Party has previously called for a programme to provide defibrillators to all our schools, and we reiterated this call again today. Installing defibrillators in schools could be rolled out over a number of years, with appropriate training for teachers and school staff. It's essential to the modern day first aid kit.

“There has been an increased awareness in recent years over the potential health issues that can occur for sportspeople. There’s no doubt that Christian Eriksen’s life was saved by the quick action of the medical team and his teammates. We need to ensure that there are enough protections in place in every community in the country to make sure that others could also be saved in the case of sudden cardiac arrest.

“A defibrillator used by a trained person increases the survival rate from sudden cardiac arrest by 50% if CPR and defibrillation occurs within the first four minutes of the incident. Survival rates diminish at a rate of 7 – 10 per cent for every minute thereafter.

“Sudden cardiac arrest can happen and often to the fittest and most active in our communities. I would urge every young person to be proactive about their heart health and attend cardiac screening if at all possible.”