| 12.1°C Dublin

GAA bids to kick-start blood donor numbers

A new partnership between the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) and the GAA is expected to lead to 15,000 donations a year.

Around 20 GAA clubs across Ireland host blood donation clinics, and it is hoped that number will double by the end of the year.

In addition, the IBTS wants 400 clubs to sign up to promote and support existing community clinics, all of which will increase the number of vital donations.

IBTS chief executive Andy Kelly said the campaign would allow it to raise awareness of the 70,000 patients who need a blood transfusion every year.

"We will ask the club to work with a Giveblood GAA club volunteer who will promote clinics to the club members and educate players and families about giving blood.

GAA president Liam O'Neill said: "The provision of blood is hugely important. To those who already donate on a regular basis, I hope they continue to do so.

"To those who don't, I would draw their attention to the crucial role they have to play, especially at this time of year when the requirement is at its most acute."

Inter-county stars Eoghan O'Gara, Tony Kelly, Anna Geary and Laura McEnaney were present at the launch.

The IBTS needs to collect 3,000 donations a week. Blood only keeps 35 days, with neonatal blood lasting between five and seven days.