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Heart attack prompts Dragons to buy defibrillator

The Donegal Dragons who have just used a Government grant to buy a defibrillator. The decision was inspired by an almost fatal incident at last year’s rowing championships held in Ballyshannon.

 
A heart attack emergency at last year’s All Ireland Coastal Rowing Championships in Donegal has prompted a local community organisation to invest in a defibrillator.
 
The Donegal Dragons, based out of  Donegal Town, are to receive over €5,000 as part of a wider €300,000 package earmarked for coastal and marine projects across the county.
 
Established four years ago by Deborah Bonner, the Donegal Dragons aim to raise awareness of breast cancer and to demonstrate how men and women living with cancer can lead full and active lives. The group stresses that it is open to everyone, whether recovering from illness or simply looking for a new social outlet.
 
The Dragons applied for grant funding for a defibrillator following an incident last year when a spectator collapsed while enjoying the All Ireland Coastal Rowing Championships in Ballyshannon. The event was hosted by Donegal Bay Rowing Club which works alongside the Donegal Dragons group.
 
Following the intervention of the Irish Red Cross and local volunteers, the patient was successfully revived.
 
As well as a defibrillator, the Dragons have been granted enough money to purchase a road trailer for transporting gear to and from their local jetty.
Speaking after receiving confirmation of the windfall, Dragons chairperson Dr Bev Huss revealed that the cardiac arrest incident had prompted them, in conjunction with Donegal Bay Rowing Club, to jointly buy a defibrillator.
 
Dr Huss added, “We work alongside Donegal Bay Rowing Club and between us we have over 100 members and growing.
 
“Our members range in age from their late teens to late 70s so we thought it would be a good idea to have a defibrillator because you just never know when it will be needed. It is mounted outside the cabin we use as our clubhouse and is available for both clubs and the general public.
 
“The pier we work on is getting busier all the time and we have our second regatta coming up in August when paddlers from the UK, all over Ireland and even New Zealand will be here. So it makes sense to have a defibrillator on hand.”
 
The €300,000 ring-fenced for Donegal is the second biggest allocation in the State under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.
 
Thirty five projects in all will benefit with the Greencastle Harbour Users’ Group among the other big winners. It is to receive just shy of €35,000 for a car park at Queen’s Port Pier. Fort Dunree Military Museum Ltd is being gifted €27,000 for the extension of a slipway at Fort Dunree Pier and food eco tourism company Wild Strands Ltd is to receive €26,000 for a project showcasing edible seaweed.
 
Donegal’s festival circuit is also well catered for in the funding round.
 
The Burtonport Summer Festival, A Taste of Donegal Food Festival, Arranmore Country Fest, Dunfanaghy Food Festival and the Swellfest Music and Arts Festival are all to receive cheques.
 
Donegal TD, Minister Joe McHugh said the money was well deserved by volunteers who put in long hours.
 
“This money will go a long way to making big differences to communities right around the county.
 
“The variety of projects, festivals, community groups and associations being supported here is a mark of the dedication and perseverance of volunteers who put so many long hours in to making their groups and events a success.
 
“Not only are they enhancing the social fabric of their communities but many of them should take credit for offering a new economic incentive around Donegal.”
 
 
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