Latest Laois Event: Defibrillator launch in Ballybrittas

Latest Laois Event: Defibrillator launch in Ballybrittas

Ballybrittas Tidy Towns Committee launches public access defibrillator

The Ballybrittas Tidy Towns Committee was delighted to launch a public access defibrillator in the village on Saturday 7th May 2022.   

The idea to provide a public access defibrillator or AED for the village, housed in a traditional style phone box arose out of a Tidy Towns committee meeting in 2019.  Some members of their group had seen them around the country and thought it was a great idea to try to do the same for Ballybrittas. And so they got in touch with The Heart of Ireland Project and the “Heart of Ballybrittas” project was born! 

Damien Baker who is Project Lead on the Heart of Ireland Project explains, “The Heart of Ireland group is an umbrella project that encompasses bringing an old piece of Irish history back to keep communities together in new ways. We are delighted to welcome another Phone Box AED to the country and we hope that this increases people’s awareness of these life saving devices locations. Thank you to the sterling work undertaken by the Ballybrittas community to make this project happen.”  

Ballybrittas Tidy Towns Committee was delighted to launch a public access defibrillator.

The Tidy Towns Committee initiated fundraising for the project by setting up a GoFundMe page for online donations.  This was supplemented by money raised at a local Christmas event in 2019 supported by a Tractor Run from the local Tractor Club, and by generous donations from individuals and businesses near and far. 

Unfortunately due to the arrival of Covid-19 in early 2020 their fundraising efforts were hampered.  Luckily they were able to avail of a grant through the Community Enhancement Scheme administered by the LCDC (Laois Local Community Development Committee) to fund the defibrillator itself, while the local fundraising was enough to cover the cost of the concrete phone box.  The Committee give special thanks to Laois County Council who was very helpful and accommodating throughout the project providing assistance for the connection of the defibrillator, and in particular, thanks go to Councillor Paschal McEvoy and more recently Councillor PJ Kelly for all their representations to get the project over the line.  

The defibrillator’s location has been registered with the National Ambulance Service (NAS).  In the event of an emergency and access to the defibrillator is required, the public are asked to dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Ambulance Service, giving the Eircode on the front of the phone box.  The NAS operator will then advise the key pad code to unlock the phone box. 

The Tidy Towns Committee would especially like to express its gratitude to everyone involved including local man David O’ Connell who unloaded the phone box on delivery day.

This project wouldn’t have been possible without the pulling together of everyone involved.

The Committee applied to Laois Offaly Education and Training Board (Community Education) (LOETB) to provide a Cardiac First Responder training course.  This course will train a small group of local people how to use the defibrillator.  This course is at full capacity now as they have had huge interest from people to participate.  The Tidy Towns Committee would like to thank Rath National School for allowing their hall to be used as a training venue.

Councillor Paschal McEvoy was in attendance along with members of the Ballybrittas Tidy Towns Committee and some local residents.  Refreshments were very kindly provided afterwards by James Hyland from Village Coffee in Ballybrittas.

The Ballybrittas Tidy Towns Committee would also like to extend a heartfelt thanks to all the local County Councillors and local businesses for their ongoing support.

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Left to right:   Tim Kearney, Councillor Paschal McEvoy, Dan O’ Neill, Sally Courtney, Fergus Reilly, Adrian O’Halloran