321 ill patients still alive today after receiving 'the gift of life'
The work of hospital co-ordinators who broach the sensitive request for organ donation with soon-to-be-bereaved families is central to the record number of patients undergoing life-saving transplants last year.
There are 321 patients alive today thanks to having an organ transplant last year.
However, another 524 people are on waiting lists for vital heart, liver, kidney, lung or pancreas operations to give them a second chance in life.
Many of the patients who had a transplant last year celebrated in good health in the Mansion House yesterday to mark Organ Donor Awareness Week which runs from March 31 to April 7.
Mark Murphy, of the Irish Kidney Association, said: "It is thanks to the gift of organ donation that almost 3,500 people in Ireland are enjoying an extended life.
"Advancements in medicine, combined with our hospitals' successful transplanting teams and the generosity of families of deceased and living donors, has led to this very positive outcome.
"We hope that this can give hope to the people in transplant waiting pools and the many more people in organ failure hoping to be listed for a lifesaving transplant."
Several of the those who had a transplant paid tribute to the "selfless and profound generosity of the families of 99 deceased donors in Ireland which resulted in a total of 260 deceased donor transplants taking place in 2017".
The 260 deceased donor organ transplants included 141 kidneys, 62 liver, 16 heart, 36 lungs and five pancreas transplants.
Mr Murphy said a record of 51 living donor kidney transplants were also carried out by the Beaumont Hospital transplant team.
"For the first time in 39 years, transplantation is keeping up with dialysis, with 2,074 people on dialysis, this is one less person on dialysis than in the previous year."
- Read more: 'Giving the gift of life to another is a truly heroic deed' - Record number of organ donations reached in 2017
RTÉ broadcaster Claire Byrne, who is an ambassador for the Irish Kidney Association, urged people to have a conversation with their loved ones about the issue of organ donation after their death.
"I have spoken to my husband and told my sisters to speak to their husbands," she added.
Once a person has died the decision on donation will be made by relatives who will have to make up their minds at a time of high pressure and distress, she pointed out.
Among the donor recipients is David Crosby, a former Meath minor footballer from Kingscourt in Cavan.
He had a lung transplant in March 2016 and he is now to complete the 'super six' marathons around the world.
Three of his four siblings had passed away at a young age, one of whom died before getting a lung transplant.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Irish Kidney Association.