Northern Ireland

Anger over foiled photo of Pantridge statue

Statue of Professor Frank Pantridge
Image caption The statue of Professor Frank Pantridge outside Lisburn Civic Centre

A tourist's thwarted bid to take a picture of a statue honouring a Northern-Ireland born heart expert outside Lisburn Civic Centre has been criticised as "bureaucracy gone mad".

Councillor Jim Dillon said he had been contacted by an angry ratepayer after their friend was told by security he was not allowed to photograph the statue of Professor Frank Pantridge.

He said the man had travelled specially from London to visit the statue.

Mr Dillon, who is chairman of the Pantridge Trust, said the move to prevent the tourist taking the photograph "should not happen again".

"I know there is a rule that you can't take photos inside the council building unless you get permission but there is no rule for outside and I think it is just bureaucracy going completely over the top," he said.

"This gentleman came over specially from London to have his photo taken at it (the statue).

"We in Lisburn try and sell Lisburn City to everyone and we try and attract tourists which we are quite successful at, but nevertheless this is something that happened and it ought not to happen."

Mr Dillon said that the tourist had managed to "sneak" a picture of the statue before security intervened.

Apology

"Thank goodness the photo was taken before they got them stopped and he has that for posterity," he added.

He said he had raised the matter at a meeting of Lisburn Council and "got the full council backing that this shouldn't have happened".

In a statement, Lisburn City Council said it had in place a policy "in relation to the taking of photographs in council facilities which states that permission is required prior to the taking of any photography".

"This policy was inadvertently applied when a group of visitors were taking photographs of the Pantridge Memorial Statue outside Lagan Valley Island and the council would like to apologise for any embarrassment caused," the statement added.

Professor Pantridge invented the portable defibrillator in 1965 while working at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

Defibrillators provide a controlled electric shock to the chests of patients to restore the heart to its normal rhythm.

Professor Pantridge's invention operated from car batteries, and variants of this are used across the world.

Before this, defibrillators could only be operated from the mains electricity supply in hospitals.

Professor Pantridge died in 2004 at the age of 88.

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