Organ Donation End of Year Statement

End of Year Statement from HSE Organ Donation and Transplant Ireland
- 203 organ transplants took place in 2021 - 


While 2021 has been a challenging year for organ donation and transplant services, the HSE’s Organ Donation Transplant Ireland Office is pleased to report today (Thursday, 29th December 2021) that 203 organ transplants have taken place this year thanks to the generosity and kindness of 99 organ donors and their families. 

Across the three national transplant centres, 137 kidney, 10 heart, 20 lung, 34 liver and 2 pancreas transplants were completed.  This includes kidney transplants from 35 living donors.

Organ Donation and Transplant figures 2021:

2021 (up to Thursday 29th December)
Number of Deceased Donors 64
Number of Living Donors 35
Total 99
Type of Transplant
Kidney 137
Liver 34
Heart 10
Lung 20
Pancreas 2
Total 203

Reflecting on the year Dr Catherine Motherway, HSE Clinical Lead, Organ Donation expressed admiration and gratitude to those families who elected to donate organs and save the lives of other people in this country.  She said “This time of year we remember those who have gone before us. On behalf of ODTI, intensive care staff, transplant teams and transplant recipients I wish to thank and honour the memory of our deceased donors. Organ donation saves and changes lives. It is an honour to be able to work with families who time and time again find it in themselves when faced with the sudden death of a loved one to think of others. We cannot express enough our gratitude. In death our donors give life.

“The last two years have been incredibly difficult for us all. Throughout the last 18 months we have worked to try to ensure that we can continue to offer organ donation and to maintain transplant programs. Intensive care, theatre, medical and nursing staff across our donor hospitals and transplant centres continue with true professionalism to support organ donation and transplantation.  I wish to also remember my deceased colleague Siobhán Brosnan Shanahan, Organ Donation Nurse Manager, UHL who sadly lost her life early this year. True to her beliefs, she gave the gift of life to others by donating her organs.

“To the families of all our donors who this Christmas mourn their loved ones we say thank you and keep you in our thoughts and prayers.’’

Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly said “Organ donation is among the most selfless gifts we can give another, and the life-changing impact that a donated organ has on a recipient cannot be overstated. The support for this donation process by the families of the donor is truly an act of generosity and altruism made during a tragic time of great sadness and difficulty. I want to express my thanks to these families, and hope they can take some solace in the relief and joy brought to the 203 organ recipients and their families and friends.

“2021 and 2020 have been extremely challenging years for the organ donation and transplant service due to the negative impact of Covid-19 on hospital activity. Organ transplantation requires round-the-clock care from intensive care staff and complex surgery on at-risk patients who are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19. Despite these extraordinary circumstances faced by the staff in Intensive Care Units, Transplant Centres and in HSE’s Organ Donation and Transplant Ireland, 99 organ donations and 203 transplants were performed in 2021. I want to acknowledge and thank them for their hard work, professionalism, and dedication, which have maintained the transplant service during this difficult period.”

Minister Donnelly confirmed he intends to bring the Human Tissue Bill to Cabinet early in 2022. He said ‘’This is a very important piece of legislation and it is a priority for me. It is my intention to publish the Bill as early as possible in 2022. I am committed to building on the progress we have achieved in recent years in the area of organ donation and transplantation and want to confirm additional funding of €1m in 2022 to continue to improve our organ donation and transplant services. This funding will support the ongoing development of transplant services, enhance our ability to assess organ donors from abroad, and improve organ donation staffing and infrastructure. The funding will also ensure that our organ donation services are equipped to meet additional demands following the introduction of the Human Tissue Bill.”

“Organ donation can be the gift of life for some people, and I encourage families across the country to have that conversation, discuss their intentions around organ donation and make family members aware of their wishes.  This will help to make organ donation the norm in situations where the opportunity arises, increase organ donation and save lives.”

Over 600 people are waiting for an organ transplant in Ireland. This includes patients on dialysis awaiting kidney transplants and patients waiting for lung, heart and liver transplants. While some kidney donations can take place through the living donation programme, all other organ donations can only proceed when another life is lost.

The HSE’s ODTI is again joined this year by patients, donor families and staff in their appeal to the public to share their views and wishes on organ donation with their families and loved ones. We are asking all to #HaveThatConversation and to remember that organ donation saves lives.

The HSE and ODTI sincerely thank the families of deceased donors who at a time of great tragedy found the strength to offer a new lease of life to many people.

For all the positive stories of successful transplant, sadly some patients do and will die each year while waiting for a transplant. 

ODTI and their extended team, remain committed to increasing organ donations and transplants and urge all, to have that conversation about donation and make their wishes known.  Having the conversation ensures wherever possible the loss of one precious life can be turned to benefit many others through donation.

See for more information and #HaveThatConversation #OrganDonationSavesLives on social media.

Last updated on: 29 / 12 / 2021