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Canning is new poster boy for lifesaving defibrillators

A Galway County Councillor is hoping that spending his poster fund on defibrillators will give his re-election chances a jolt ahead of the June local elections.

Fianna Fáil Councillor Ivan Canning, who is running a poster-less campaign, said a conversation with one of his children prompted him to abandon plans for posters during his first bid for election in 2019.

And he has decided to go one step further this time by using the money to pay for seven defibrillators which he has given to seven referees to bring to camogie and hurling matches.

At the last election, he said he used the money to buy a defibrillator for his local GAA club in Portumna, but advancements in the technology meant new portable devices had reduced in price and referees could carry them to clubs where there is no defibrillator, or the one that’s there is out of order.

“I have five kids and I’m forever on to them about wasting plastic and recycling. Before the last election, we were sitting with my son, who was ten at the time, at the table.

“I was looking at the brochure from the party about posters and worked out that it would cost about €3,000 and he picked me up on it – he said you’re always on about dumping and you’re going to spend €3,000 on single-use plastic,” said Cllr Canning.

These iPad-size defibrillators would be available at matches and, if an emergency occurred, the referees who had received them had been trained to use them.

“I got onto Smart Medical in Galway and I bought the seven of them. They trained the seven referees to use them. The umpire will carry the defibrillator at the matches. They are single-use and they last two years and they might save a life,” said Cllr Canning.

This was a first-of-its-kind project, he said, and he hoped other election candidates would follow his lead.

“It could also be rolled out further. A couple of the referees are on the national board and one of them brought it to Croke Park to suggest it could be rolled out nationally.

“It would be brilliant to see that at every match in the country, there would be a defibrillator available if an emergency happened,” he said.

At €400 each, the Fianna Fáil councillor said this was small money to save a life.

Cllr Canning joined the County Council when he was co-opted for Deputy Anne Rabbitte after she was elected to the Dáil in 2016 and ran his first election campaign in 2019.

He said he managed to get elected without posters and believed all councillors should ditch them, adding he had no issue if other Galway councillors spent the money in the same way he had.

“A lot of Tidy Towns groups and others have asked for no posters and while I understand new candidates want to get their face out there, you still have to call to the doors to get elected. They can use social media, newspapers and radio to get their names out there.

“For those who do want to put their face up, we should do what they do in France and have a notice board in every town and village where candidates can put up a small paper poster,” he continued.

Pictured: Cllr Ivan Canning… defibrilator project.

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