A RECORD number of children received kidney transplants in 2012, prompting calls for more people to carry donor cards.
The national renal transplant unit at Temple Street Children's University Hospital conducted kidney transplants on 16 children this year - the most transplants conducted in one year since the unit was set up nine years ago.
The children who received new kidneys were aged four to 14 years old and were from all over Ireland, including Dublin, Cork, Sligo, Donegal and Wexford.
Of the 16 transplants, seven children received their new kidney from a living donor - a relative or friend - and nine were from a deceased donor.
The Temple Street unit is encouraging people to mark the start of the New Year by carrying a donor card and make the greatest possible act of generosity by giving the gift of life.
Dr Niamh Dolan, Consultant Paediatric Nephrologist at Temple Street revealed that 20 children are currently waiting for a kidney transplant.
Many of these children have been coming to the hospital for dialysis three times a week from all over the country for periods from six months to five years while waiting for a kidney.
"Each time they attend the hospital they spend three hours on a machine losing precious days of family, home and school life," she said.
She urged people to consider becoming an organ donor and to speak to their families about their decision.
"When a child's kidneys fail or when they are born without normal kidney function, it is devastating and for these children organ donation can be a means to regain a normal life without the rigorous routine of dialysis," she added.