Medical device stolen at site of accident
THIEVES stole a life-saving defibrillator from an accident blackspot where four students died in a road crash last year.
The device was placed at a roadside location after the crash on the N17 near Milltown, Co Galway, last November.
Four women were killed and two people injured in a collision between a car and a pick-up truck; all the women who died were travelling in the same car.
They were Marie Conneely (19), Theresa Molloy (19), Sarah Byrne (20) and Sorcha Rose McLaughlin (19).
In spite of numerous appeals, the defibrillator has not been returned. "The cost of the replacement defibrillator, together with the cost of the one stolen, is close to €4,000," said Padraic Coyne of the Milltown Defibrillator Group. "But we simply had to replace the one taken from this accident blackspot."
More than 20 local people did a sponsored climb of Croagh Patrick and a fundraising concert featuring local artists was held in Milltown Community Centre to raise funds for the replacement defibrillator.
The group had installed four defibrillators along the accident-prone stretch of the N17 Galway-Sligo road between Milltown, Co Galway, and Ballindine in Co Mayo. The defibrillators are in weather-proof casings and are attached to walls near homes at the four locations.
The new one has now been installed at a more secure location on a wall beside a house close to the accident blackspot."
The ambulance crews and all the relevant emergency services are aware of where we have located this new one, and the three other defibrillators, along this stretch of road," said Mr Coyne. They are clearly visible to people travelling along this busy route, and it has caused outrage that someone stole one.
The Milltown group has also installed a further nine defibrillators on other roads, and at schools around the parish.
According to Mr Coyne, when the defibrillator battery needs attention after a certain period of time it can only be serviced by the suppliers, who have the serial number for each one.
"This makes it completely useless to the thief," said Mr Coyne, adding that the theft was "heartless".
The defibrillator is labelled as being the property of the Milltown Defibrillator Group and garda investigations into the theft are continuing.