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Good Samaritan to the rescue after defibrillator theft

Denise McNamara

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Heartless thieves have stolen a defibrillator which a GAA club had spent months fundraising for to ensure their players would have the best chance of survival in the event of a cardiac incident.

Castlegar GAA Club had raised €1,500 just a year ago to buy the machine which was stored in a locked cupboard of the referee’s changing rooms in their club complex in Roscam.

They do not know when exactly it was taken, but they discovered it was missing two months ago, said club chairman Damien Tummon.

“Sometimes the gates are left open to facilitate the refs so it must have happened on one of those occasions. We thought maybe somebody had borrowed it for some reason and forgot to return it so put up a notice on Facebook but it seems it was definitely stolen.

“We did check CCTV but could not find anything unusual,” explained Mr Tummon.

The defibrillator was taken out once for use since its purchase to help somebody in trouble at the railway track. By the time a club official brought it to the incident site an ambulance had already arrived.

Luckily enough it has not been needed since it was swiped. However the death of a 15-year-old ‘Bish’ student at the Doughiska pitches last month during a soccer match has spurred the club on to replace the lifesaving equipment.

Hassan Taiwo collapsed during a game between his team, Merlin Woods FC, and Salthill Devon and was later declared dead at University Hospital Galway.

“That death really hit us. We were thinking if that was to happen in our pitches we’d be really kicking ourselves we didn’t have the defibrillator. So we put the word out there we would have to get another one.”

A good Samaritan answered in the form of Tom Meehan, owner of the Spar Shop in Roscam, who has agreed to purchase the equipment for use by the GAA Club.

Officials in the club have decided it would make more sense from a security point of view to store the defibrillator in the shop, which is just across the road from the pitches.

“It’s awful that we can’t store something as vital as a defibrillator where we would like but having it in the Spar also means the community will have easier access to it in the event of an emergency,” Mr Tummon explained.

Castlegar GAA Club is one of the city’s biggest sports, with 80 adults and up to 400 youths regularly using its facilities

“We’re grateful to Tom Meehan that we don’t have to go out again and fundraise. But really it’s very sickening that somebody would feel the need to go and steal this.”

News of the Castlegar device follows confirmation a fortnight ago that three life buoys are being stolen or thrown into the city’s waterways every week by vandals.

An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable device that checks the heart rhythm. If needed, it can send an electric shock to the heart to try to restore a normal rhythm. Defibrillators are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest, where the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating and can cause death if it’s not treated within minutes. Some 6,000 of the 10,000 who die from cardiovascular disease die from sudden cardiac arrest and 70 per cent of these occur outside of hospital.

“There is significant evidence to suggest that early defibrillation can have a major impact on survival rates from sudden cardiac arrest,” according the GAA’s guidelines on the use of defibrillators.

CITY TRIBUNE

€46,000 Lotto winner comes forward as deadline looms

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – The Knocknacarra winner of the Lotto Match 5 + Bonus from the 12th of December has come forward to claim their prize, just two weeks before the claim deadline.

The winning ticket, which is worth €46,234, was sold at Clybaun Stores on the Clybaun Road on the day of the draw, one of two winners of the Lotto Match 5 + Bonus prize of €92,000.

A spokesperson for the National Lottery say we are now making arrangements for the lucky winner to make their claim in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the Lotto jackpot for tomorrow night (27th February) will roll to an estimated €5.5 million.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Voice of ‘Big O’ reflects on four decades

Denise McNamara

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The daytime voice of Big O Taxis is celebrating four decades in the role – and she has no plans to hang up her headset any time soon.

Roisin Freeney decided to seek a job after staying at home to mind her three children for over a decade. It was 1981 when she saw an advert in the Connacht Sentinel for a dispatch operator.

The native of Derry recalls that the queue for the job wound its way past Monroe’s Tavern from the taxi office on Dominick Street.

“There was a great shortage of work back then. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the line of people. My then husband who was giving me a lift in never thought I’d get the job, he was driving on past and I said, let me off.

“I got it because I worked as a telephonist in the telephone exchange in Derry. But I was terrified starting off because I hadn’t been in the work system for so long.”

Back then Big O Taxis had only 25 drivers and just a single line for the public to book a cab.

“We had an old two-way radio, you had to speak to the driver and everybody could listen in. It was easy to leave the button pressed when it shouldn’t be pressed. People heard things they shouldn’t have – that’s for sure,” laughs Roisin.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of Róisín’s story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Baby boom puts strain on Galway City secondary schools

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A baby boom in the late 2000s has left parents of sixth class pupils in Galway City scrambling to find a secondary school place for their children next September – with over 100 children currently facing the prospect of rejection from city schools.

The Department of Education is now rushing to address the issue and confirmed to the Galway City Tribune this week that it was fully aware of increasing pressure and demand on city schools

Local councillor Martina O’Connor said there were 100 more children more than there were secondary school places for next year, and warned that this would put severe pressure on schools to increase their intake numbers.

“This will put a lot of pressure on schools because they will have been working out the number of teachers and what resources they would need in October or November last year and they could be facing a situation where they will be asked to take an additional eight or 10 students.

“There would normally be a small excess – maybe two or three – but this year, it’s over 100. There is a bigger number of children in sixth class this year and there will be the same issue for the next few years,” said the Green Party councillor.

A Department spokesperson said while there were capacity issues, factors other than numbers could be at play, adding that there were approximately 1,245 children in the city due to move onto secondary school in September.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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