30 Sept 2022

Kilkenny councillor backs bill to see harsher penalties for people who damage or steal lifesaving equipment

Cllr Peter Cleere says new laws might make people think twice

A local councillor says the law needs to be significantly strengthened when it comes to people who steal or damage lifesaving equipment such as lifebuoys or defibrillators.

A Fianna Fail bill due before the Dáil in the coming weeks would significantly strengthen the penalties applied to such individuals, and Skeoghvosteen councillor Peter 'Chap' Cleere says it's a very serious issue. The measures, spearheaded by Senator Dr Keith Swanick, are a direct response to a series of incidents in recent months where lifesaving equipment was tampered with.

Under the Fianna Fáil bill, a jail term of a maximum of five years will be handed down to individuals convicted of interfering with life-saving equipment. Alternatively, culprits will be hit with a €50,000 fine that will be attached to property and social welfare.

The Life Saving Equipment Bill 2017 has a petition which currently has 12,000 signatures, will be presented to the Government urging them to accept the legislation.

Cllr Cleere says that 13 people in Ireland die every day from cardiac arrest and that having a defibrillator is essential in saving a life.

"If people know that a custodial sentence of up to five years, or indeed a fine of up to €50,000, could arise on foot of stealing a lifebuoy or damaging a defibrillator, they might think twice," he says.

"Every week, approximately two people die in Ireland from drowning and a missing lifebuoy has regularly been cited. A stolen lifebuoy is potentially a stolen life.”

To continue reading this article for FREE,
please kindly register and/or log in.

Registration is absolutely 100% FREE and will help us personalise your experience on our sites. You can also sign up to our carefully curated newsletter(s) to keep up to date with your latest local news!

Register / Login

Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.

Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.