I propose to take Questions Nos. 68 and 85 together.
I echo what the Deputy said. We were all horrified by what happened to Christian Eriksen and I commend his teammates on what they did on the day. I am glad he is recovering well.
The procurement of defibrillators and subsequent training is in the first instance a matter for each individual club. However, the State provides a number of supports for their purchase and training for their use. The sports capital and equipment programme is the primary vehicle for Government support for the development of sports and physical recreation facilities and the purchase of non-personal sports equipment throughout the country. Grants are available for a wide variety of capital works and non-personal sports equipment including first aid kits and defibrillators.
Defibrillators situated at sports clubs are generally also for community use. Funding is also available through the HSE’s national lottery grants schemes and other community grants schemes. At a local level, the network of local sports partnerships throughout the country deliver education and training opportunities across a broad range of areas to local sports clubs and community groups. This includes first aid workshops, which typically cover CPR and-or defibrillator training as part of the content.
Defibrillators can improve a person’s survival chances following sudden cardiac arrest and their availability can be an important part of the medical response. I would encourage all governing bodies to support their clubs in their efforts to purchase defibrillators. I am aware that much important work is happening already. The three large field sports have been very proactive and have dedicated programmes in place relating to cardiac care, screening and defibrillator training.
A number of national governing bodies of sport also have schemes in place to support their club networks in cardiac care, screening and defibrillator training. The GAA’s community heart programme, the FAI’s heart care programme and the IRFU’s safe rugby programme are excellent examples of proactive supports to assist clubs and members to participate safely in sport.
Sport Ireland has also commenced work on the development of a national database of sport and recreation amenities. This GIS-based database encompasses considerably more datasets than was originally envisaged in an audit of sports facilities and is expected to be substantially completed within two years. As part of this work, Sport Ireland is examining a proposal to include the location of defibrillators in the database. This would be an important part of our sporting infrastructure and would allow us to see where defibrillators are located and then target investment on having them located in areas where there has not been an intervention up to now.
We have ongoing capital and equipment supports for defibrillators and also through our local sports partnerships. It is important that we train volunteers in our communities so that they can use the equipment in a way that saves a person's life. We should also have ongoing support through the sporting organisations for their maintenance and so on. I have outlined the broad range of supports there and I appreciate the importance of the question.