A record number of lung transplants were carried out in Ireland in 2019, according to the latest figures.

In total, 274 transplants were performed in Ireland using organs from 110 donors.

There were 38 lung transplants carried out, ten more than last year, while 153 kidneys transplants were performed.

The figures show that there were 66 liver procedures, 15 heart and two pancreas transplants in 2019.

Professor Jim Egan, Director of Organ Donation and Transplant Ireland, said organ donation continues to be a rare event.

He said: "Of 31,000 deaths each year in Ireland, we see an average of 80 multi-organ donations".

Minister for Health Simon Harris said he hopes to encourage more donors by introducing new legislation.

Mr Harris said he intends to bring the Human Tissue Bill to Cabinet in early 2020.

He said it will provide for a soft opt-out system, which he hopes will encourage people to have conversations with their families about organ donation.

Speaking this morning, the minister also announced additional funding of €500,000 in 2020 to develop the National Organ Retrieval Service.

He said this is "with a view to enhancing our current organ donation infrastructure to be comparable with best international standards".

The Irish Donor Network have welcomed the fact that 2019 was the best year ever for lung transplants. 

The organisation, which represents eight patient groups concerned with organ donation and transplants, said it was also a record year for for liver transplants with 66  performed. 

The previous highest figure was 64 in 2009. 

Philip Watt, Chair of IDN and CEO of Cystic Fibrosis Ireland, said however there has  been a slight decline in kidney transplants in 2019 with 153 performed, compared with 167 in 2018 .

He said the figures appear to be linked to a decline in transplants in the living donor programme.