TD’s election literature aims to save lives

A General Election candidate and sitting TD has decided to put his money where his mouth is as he continues to hit the campaign trail.

Independent TD for Roscommon Galway Denis Naughten (42 ) is using election literature to try to save lives and reduce crime.

Instead of promoting himself he has decided to provide each home in his constituency with a card which aims to help save lives by assisting ambulances and also reducing crime, particularly against older people.

The card is being distributed this week through the “Litir um Toghchain” election literature process to the 57,500 homes in his constituency.

“Over the last number of years I have been highlighting the problem with ambulance response times and Garda resources in rural areas, and rather than again highlighting them on my election literature, I decided to do something practical about it,” he stated.

“I’ve designed a ‘Keep Safe’ card which combines an emergency response card to assist the emergency services, with an unknown caller card, to reduce incidents around bogus tradesmen preying on vulnerable people.

“The emergency response card provides the emergency services with vital information, including the new Eircode, which has been incorporated into the ambulance dispatch system, which will assist paramedics getting to a critically ill person far quicker.”

He said many parts of the country have poor response times for the ambulance service and on some occasions this has been due to it getting lost or delays in communicating the exact location of the patient’s home.

“These delays have been compounded by the new policy operating within the National Ambulance Service of ‘dynamic deployment’, which means that the nearest available ambulance responds to the emergency.

“With the Emergency Response Card householders are asked to fill in their location using their Eircode together with directions to their house, their own telephone number and their doctor’s details. Once filled in, the card can then be placed in a prominent location in the house for ease of access, eg, by the phone.”

Deputy Naughten said during the course of this campaign he has been surprised by the fact that a lot of older people are still willing to open their doors without questioning who is on the other side.

“I am hoping that the Unknown Caller Card section will help to protect 57,500 homes in rural Ireland. It is based on that developed by Gardai following an increase in the number of bogus callers and tradesmen calling to vulnerable people. The object of the initiative is to empower an older person when dealing with unwanted or unknown callers and to reduce the need to engage in conversation. While the primary advice is not to open the door to strangers, inevitably there are times when, because of the trusting nature of older homeowners, they will open the door and engage with these callers.

“Many people routinely employ door-to-door traders and repair people/contractors. Some of these people carry out very little work and charge exorbitant amounts of money for their services. Others are looking to distract the homeowner while a second individual burgles the house. To counteract this, the older person can hand the card to the caller advising them to leave a business card or contact details and they will be contacted if required.”

He pointed out this eliminates the need for any further conversation and provides the older person with a means to ending the conversation without further argument or discussion. He said genuine caller will have no difficulty with this and it should make life a little more complicated for unwanted callers.

Explaining his decision to circulate this in place of the usual election literature, the Independent TS said: “Over the course of the General Election campaign the State will pay out about €11.5m delivering election literature to each door in Ireland. Rather than just complaining about what could be done, I’ve tried to do something practical.

“If this initiative prevents even a small number from becoming another one of our crime statistics, or another stroke victim, it will be a worthwhile exercise.’

The cards will be delivered throughout the Roscommon Galway constituency over the coming days and people in other constituencies can access the card online at PuttingPeopleFirst.ie

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