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Thieves return heart machine

Thieves who stole a defibrillator had a change of heart when they responded to a public appeal and gave back the stolen life-saving device.

When the defibrillator was stolen from the clubhouse at a GAA ground there was a public outcry. Nine days later, it was left on the side of a busy road, where it was quickly discovered and returned to the club.

The theft happened at the Avondale GAA club in Rathdrum, Co Wicklow, during a ladies' football final. A glass case in the clubhouse was found smashed and the defibrillator was missing.

Local councillor Jimmy O'Shaughnessy told the Herald he joined in public appeals for the thieves to return the device with "no questions asked".

In a passionate appeal, the local politician said the defibrillator was donated to the club by Essie Fogarty in honour of her deceased son. She had spent a great deal of time raising funds in Co Wicklow to buy the device.

He said he hoped the thieves would have "an attack of conscience" when they realised the device could save a life.

"It was found nine days after it was stolen, placed on the side of the road between Rathdrum and Avondale House," said Cllr O'Shaughnessy.

"The gardai carried out fingerprint tests on it and it is back in the clubhouse now. Everyone is relieved that it is back. It is working perfectly."