Pelican House has been the centre for Ireland's blood service for twenty five years.

Dermot O'Grady of Ballintuber in County Sligo arrives at a clinic in Athlone to donate his first pint of blood. This is just one of the one hundred thousand donations that the Blood Transfusion Board will receive this year and one of the millions of donations made in the last twenty five years of the service.

Almost every family in Ireland has either contributed to or benefited from the service.

A nurse performs a simple finger prick blood test and checks for any underlying illnesses before going ahead with the procedure.

In any given year, as many as forty per cent of the population could potentially give blood and of these around seven per cent will actually donate. Each donation is just under a pint, is relatively painless for the donor and is replaced by the body within a month.

All blood donations in Ireland are made voluntarily and Irish people have given generously. In some other countries, donors receive a payment. Ireland is one of the few countries in the world where surgery is not delayed because of a shortage of blood.

A simple but literally true request from Pelican House, Give Blood, Give Life.

After donation, the donor rests for twenty minutes and is rewarded with liquid refreshments in the form of tea, coffee or Guinness.  The blood is stored in a freezer container and then brought to Pelican House in Dublin for processing which involves typing, grouping and testing which includes testing for hepatitis. Once processed, the blood is dispatched throughout the country. Two fully staffed mobile units travel the country collecting blood throughout the year.

55% of Irish people have Group O blood, 30% Group A, 10% Group B, and only 2.7% of the rare Group AB blood. 85% of us are Rh Positive, 15% Rh Negative.

This episode of 'Cope’ was broadcast on 15 April 1975. The reporter is Tom McGurk.