McKevitt seeks support from GAA for ‘lifesaving’ campaign
South Down MLA Karen McKevitt is hoping to score support from the Ulster Council for her campaign calling on all sports clubs to have on-site lifesaving defibrillators.
McKevitt and her SDLP colleague, Newry and Armagh MLA Dominic Bradley, spoke at length about the issue with Ulster Council President, Martin McAviney at Stormont today.
The assemblywoman is campaigning for clubs to have people trained in CPR and to have Automated External Defibrillators at all sports clubs, which she believes could save lives. She said it was a positive meeting, and said Mr McAviney pledged the GAA family would consider the matter.
McKevitt explained to Newry Times, “It was great Dominic and I had the opportunity to talk in depth with Martin about why this is so important. In South Down, we have witnessed three young people lose their lives on the football field – Oisin McGuinness; Patrick Dinsmore; and our own councillor, Mickey Cole.
“The families of those young men have worked tirelessly for this campaign to take place, to have training and have defibrillators at hand, by raising funds for local sports clubs, schools etc. The GAA has engaged in work to ensure their players are healthy and fit, but I believe by supporting this call they would be taking it a much needed step further.”
Dominic Bradley said he was encouraged after meeting Mr McAviney. “Having defibrillators on site at sporting fixtures would be a massive step forward, and I believe, it would save lives. We’ve seen incidents in recent times, during a senior football match in Newry when a defibrillator was used pitch-side.
“A Down County Board spokesman said afterwards the situation could have been worse if there had been no on-site medical equipment. What more proof do we need to show this is something that is needed.”
McKevitt said she planned to take her campaign to other sporting clubs. “Just last week the health minister launched a public consultation on the draft Community Resuscitation Strategy, which is to be welcomed.
“I told Mr McAviney I believe it is important the GAA make a response to this consultation. I also plan to meet with other sporting organisations to discuss the same matter,” she added.
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