A teenager who was identified after assistance from the public has paid compensation following criminal damage to an automated external defibrillator at a business premises in Blarney.
Gardaí have confirmed that a suspect was identified following assistance from the public and that compensation has been paid for the damage to the AED device on December 18, 2021.
A spokeswoman said:
"Gardaí in Blarney investigating the criminal damage that occurred to an AED device at a business premises in Blarney, Co. Cork on December 18 2021 have identified the suspect.
“The male adult in his late teens, was identified as a result of the support and assistance of the public and this man has been made amenable. Compensation has been paid for the damage to the device.
"An Garda Síochána would like to thank the media and the public for all their assistance in the matter,” the spokeswoman added.
The criminal damage to the automated external defibrillator caused outrage in the Blarney community after it occurred in December.
It led to Blarney Community First Responders advising the public that, not for the first time, its publicly accessible AED outside the main entrance to Blarney Woollen Mills had been vandalised and being withdrawn.
The automated external defibrillator (AED) is subsequently back in service after the damaged thermostatic-controlled storage cabinet was repaired.
Speaking in the aftermath of the incident local Fine Gael councillor Damian Boylan condemned the vandalism as “destruction for the sake of it”.
He likened the act to someone throwing a lifebuoy into a river and the consequences that might have in the event of an emergency.
Fianna Fáil councillor Tony Fitzgerald also blasted the vandalism.
“This defibrillator saves lives and is a vital piece of life-saving equipment,” he added.
On January 3 this year, Community First Responders Ireland (CFR Ireland) called for cross-party support for a bill that would see those convicted of interfering with a defibrillator fined or imprisoned.
The Life Saving Equipment Bill 2018 would impose a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment, a €50,000 fine, or both for those convicted of interfering with a defibrillator or lifebuoy.
They made the call following damage to public access defibrillators across the State in recent weeks, including the incident in Blarney.
CFR Ireland medical director Dr David Menzies said:
“Damage to, or theft of, a defibrillator installed for public use could be a death sentence for a patient if it were not available for a patient in cardiac arrest as a result. It is that serious.”
CFR Ireland chair John Fitzgerald said the group believed that “strict penalties” should apply to those guilty of theft of or damage to life-saving devices such as defibrillators.
“The issue of defibrillator theft and damage is not new, it is time for action,” he said.