The Irish Blood Transfusion Service is asking for immediate donations as blood supplies across all groups are running critically low.

The IBTS said that supply in some groups has frequently fallen to just three days' worth in recent weeks, while it normally tries to have seven days in stock at all times.

"Hospitals have been experiencing extreme pressures recently and there has been a sustained high demand for blood,'’ said Paul McKinney, Director of Donor Services and Logistics.

"The recent high level of respiratory illness in the community has also impacted the collection of blood and, as a result, we are running critically low across all blood groups.

"In order to avoid putting further pressure on our hospital system, we need as many donors as possible to attend donation clinics over the coming days."

Mr McKinney said the service is very grateful for support from donors "over the last few challenging months".

He said anyone interested in becoming a new donor should register their interest on giveblood.ie.