The Irish Kidney Association has said there is an urgent need for a second hospital performing kidney transplants to meet the "spiralling" demand for transplants.

IKA Chief Executive Mark Murphy said there are 2,000 people on dialysis now and this will rise to 3,000 within a decade if action is not taken.

He said Beaumont Hospital in Dublin is unable to do the task on its own and it is proving too much to ask for an acute hospital of its size.

He was speaking today at the launch of Organ Donor Awareness week which takes place from 2-9 April.

Mr Murphy said that most people are willing to donate organs and Ireland needs to lift the system to the next level.

There are currently 550 people waiting for heart, lung, liver, kidney and pancreas transplants.

Of these, 460 are on the kidney transplant waiting list, which represents 23% of the dialysis patients.

According to the IKA, the length of time it takes to be listed for a kidney transplant varies greatly across the country.

However, only an estimated 35% of dialysis patients are deemed transplantable.

There are three transplanting hospitals in Ireland - Beaumont (kidney), St Vincent's University Hospital (liver and shortly pancreas/kidney) and the Mater (heart & lung).

Under the new structures, which includes Organ Donation and Transplant Ireland, led by Professor Jim Egan, there are six personnel working inside intensive care units championing organ donation.

The IKA says that Ireland now has the medical expertise to convert the increasing organ donation rates to more transplantation.

Latest figures show that there were 266 organ transplants here last year, 22 more operations compared with the previous year.