10-2-16: DOUBLE ARSON ATTACK ON KILMACANOGUE GAA CLUBHOUSE
Two arson attacks on Kilmacanogue GAA Club on the nights of 6th and 8th February saw part of the Kilmacanogue GAA Club House destroyed by fire along with an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) and its storage cabinet.
The first fire was set inside the clubhouse in a storage/changing room, causing smoke damage to other areas of the building and also destroying the AED. In the second fire, damage was done to the rafters and water tank. The arsonist(s) gained entry through the back doors.
"We don't have to explain what an integral part the GAA play in Irish communities, the work thousands of volunteers do all over the country. To be attacked like this is an insult to all those volunteers, who work with our youth and provide so much pleasure for us all. Secondly, the destruction of the AED during this vandalism renders us speechless," Wicklow Cardiac First Responders stated.
If anyone has any information regarding the vandalism carried out to the Kilmacanogue GAA, they are being asked to inform the Gardaí.
"We will not be deterred from continuing to place PADs everywhere. The actions of one or two mindless idiots who think it's funny or having the craic, to damage a piece of life saving equipment have to be ignored. We must not give in," WWCFRs added.
"We, Wicklow Cardiac First Responders, will not tolerate any non-emergency interference with AEDs. Whether they have been placed by our Community First Responder Groups or any organisations or individuals for the purpose of saving lives."
In Ireland, each day, 14 people die (out of hospital) from cardiac arrest. Last September, during the Westmeath GAA IFC semi-final in Cusack Park, Athlone substitute Cathal Joyce collapsed on the pitch and went into cardiac arrest. Because of the intervention of other players and the team physio and the availability of an AED the outcome could have been different.
In June 2015, a Rathvilly woman's life was saved using the Rathvilly GAA AED. In January 2016, a defibrillator was required after Under 21 Leitrim player, Alan McTague collapsed during the match in Rathcline GAA Club's Clonbonny grounds in Lanesboro. Medical treatment was administered by physios from both teams. Alan survived.
WWCFRs have being campaigning to place all Public Access AEDs (PADs) in prominent locations and that they are easily accessible in order that they can be quickly used when required to help save a life. "Seconds count when a person is in cardiac arrest. We don't want PAD AEDs locked into boxes or buildings, they need to be available to everyone when they are needed," they stated.
Community First Responder Groups around Co. Wicklow have placed just short of 50 AEDs, for public use. They have also carried out CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) training in their communities. All carried out by local community fundraising.
Recently, WWCFRs announced the launch of Kilmacanogue Community First Responders. Kilmacanogue CFRs will be "going live" and linking to the National Ambulance Service shortly. Over the last number of months Kilmacanogue CFRs have place 3 AEDs for public use in the environs of Kilmacanogue. The plan is to place another 2 in the next few weeks. The destroyed AED, which belongs to Kilmacanogue GAA, was to be one of those.
"This attack on the Kilmacanogue community is very upsetting, but they will not be deterred by the actions of these vandals," WWCFRs stated.