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‘How much is a life worth?’ Over 70% of defibrillator funding rejected

Delays in ambulance and defibs from PSNI being investigated

Jody Keenan from Newry
Jody Keenan died in the early hours of Sunday, April 10, after collapsing in the Trevor Hill area of Newry.

An undisclosed report from a council area has been criticised for rejecting funding for over 70 per cent of lifesaving defibrillator applications.

The financial assistance report from Newry, Mourne and Down District Council has identified a shortfall of £30k in its budget to refuse 22 out of 31 requests for defibrillator grants.

The local authority recommendations for refusal comes just months after the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, Marie Anderson began an investigation in to the tragic death of a 39-year-old woman who died in Newry while waiting for an ambulance crew to arrive.

Classroom assistant, Jody Keenan died in the early hours of Sunday, April 10, after collapsing in the Trevor Hill area of Newry.

Delays in ambulance services resulted in the PSNI arriving first at the scene with a defibrillator at approximately 3.52am, however Ms Keenan passed away despite attempts to resuscitate her.

Downpatrick councillor, Gareth Sharvin (SDLP) spoke out following Monday night’s active and healthy communities committee to demand the council digs deeper to support all applications.

“There are 22 applications for defibrillators that on these papers that will now not gain funding,” said Cllr Sharvin.

“It was welcoming that such a grant had a strong uptake across the district, but I was concerned that only 29% of the successful applications were getting funded.

“Any one of the defibrillators could save a life, and a life is more valuable than the shortfall being experienced.

“I proposed that we look somewhere to identify the extra pounds and pennies of the £30k odd money that is required to fund these projects.

“What is an extra £30k when we could be talking about saving someone’s life?”

A council officer confirmed that the local authority would now look into sourcing the extra funds for the outstanding applications and report back at next month’s committee meeting.

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