Cystic Fibrosis patients have welcomed a decision by the HSE to carry out adult lung transplants in Ireland instead of Newcastle in England.
CEO of Cystic Fibrosis Ireland and chairman of the Irish Donor Network, Philip Watt, said it is fantastic that CF patients will no longer have to get on a plane and travel for their operation.
"There was a lot of anxiety around that and a lot of additional costs for families in terms of taking time off work and staying in the UK," he said.
In future all of these operations will be carried out at the The National Centre for Cadiothoracic Surgery at the Mater Hospital, which will soon mark the 10th anniversary of the country's first lung transplant.
"We congratulate the Mater University Hospital lung transplant team," said Mr Watt, pointing out that 2013 was an outstanding year at the hospital with the number of lung transplants up from 14 in 2012 to 32.
This included nine Cystic Fibrosis patients who had double lung transplants – up from four the previous year.
Mr Watt added that the decision provided hope for patients who might be too ill to travel abroad for treatment. The Mater unit will also shortly be moving to new facilities.