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Blood supplies for new babies set to run out

AN URGENT appeal has been launched for vital blood supplies used to treat newborn babies -- with only five days' supplies of a vital blood group remaining.

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) is appealing for O negative donors to give blood over the Easter period.

Just 8pc of the Irish population is O negative, but because it is the universal blood group, O negative is always in great demand, according to the IBTS.

"It is used in emergencies where cross-match is not possible and for newborn babies who need transfusions," an IBTS spokesperson said.

Meanwhile two of its regular blood donors -- who are both O negative -- reached a significant milestone during last week, when they donated their 50th pint together at the D'Olier Blood clinic.

Ed Sherry (54) and John McCarthy (55) have been friends since school but it wasn't until very recently that the two discovered they were regular donors.

They then discovered they were both close to their 50th donation and decided to mark the occasion by donating the milestone pint together.

"Last summer, we discovered we were both approaching the 50th donation. At the time I was on 47 donations. It was John's idea that we would donate it together," said Ed, who lives in Goatstown, Dublin, but is originally from Clones.

He said that they have been friends for many years, having attended St Macartan's Secondary School together in Monaghan and have remained in contact since.

The IBTS needs approximately 3,000 units of blood per week, and donors can give blood every three months.