An urgent appeal for blood donations has been issued by the Irish Blood Transfusion Board as the national supply in most groups has fallen to just three days in recent weeks.

The board said it aims to have seven days of supply in stock at all times.

It said its target is to get an additional 2,000 donations over the next five weeks and appealed to both regular and new donors to attend their nearest clinic.

The start of summer travel has impacted on donors' availability, the board said, while new donors have fallen significantly since the pandemic.

Paul McKinney, Director of Donor Services and Logistics, said: "There has been a consistently strong hospital demand for blood and we need to boost our collections by nearly 400 donations per week to meet it."

Mr McKinney said that all blood groups are needed, including some that never traditionally run low; such as A positive and B positive.

"We are asking regular donors who are texted over the next few weeks to make an extra effort to attend their nearest clinic.

"They are vital to addressing the current increased demand from hospitals.

"For the longer term, we also urge donors to consider giving blood if they are eligible before they go on holidays this summer."

Anyone interested in giving blood for the first time can check their eligibility on

Only 3% of the eligible population are blood donors but it is estimated one-in-four people will need a blood transfusion at some point in their lives.

Over the last year, the eligibility criteria has changed for some people who were previously prevented from making donations.

The Clinical Nurse Manager at the blood donor clinic on D'Olier Street in Dublin has appealed to people who have never donated to consider doing so now by checking thier eligibility on the IBTS website or by calling 1800 731 137.

Sarah Monaghan said "the best thing to do is go onto the website, there are a quick 10 questions that they can go through to see if they're eligible, they'll come through and speak to a nurse and we'll go through an array of questions just to make sure they're eligible to donate blood."

"I think a lot of people are kind of nervous about it if they haven't done it before but a lot of our donors are regular, so once they have done it once, most donors do come back which is a good sign that it is an easy enough process," she added.

Ms Monaghan said people have been answering the call to give blood following the urgent appeal for donations.

She the IBTS clinic on D'Olier Street has been "really busy today, which is a really good sign" and she said while some people had already booked appointments, there were also walk-ins.

'It's for such a good cause'

Blood donors have also urged people to consider giving blood.

John Walsh from Cabra in Dublin made his 120th donation at the D'Olier Street clinic this afternoon.

He said the reason he regularly donates is because "it's for such a good cause."

"It's for people for accidents, operations, babies that need transfusion, everyone that goes into hospital can do with it," he said.

"You just don't know what’s around the corner, family-wise who will need it in the future, so it's just from my heart, I donate every three or four months.

"Why only 3% of the population give it, I don't know, there should be more people out there."

He urged people to "just make an effort, it only takes 40 minutes approximately."

Another donor, Sam Ree from Dunboyne in Co Meath, said he first donated when he was 18 years old.

He said after that he "just kept booking in every three months" and he said he has "never had any issues, so once I'm still eligible, I'll keep coming back."

Mr Ree said "it’s something handy to do, an easy way to help people out and it takes no time out of your day."