The Garda Traffic Corps in Cork City is out for blood, literally.
But there’s no need for motorists to be alarmed, unless, of course, they’ve a phobia of needles.
The boys in blue are preparing for a sponsored cycle and they want blood donations — instead of money.
Twelve members of the force are hoping to get at least 660 new blood donors to sign up with the transfusion service.
The 660 represents the number of kilometres they intend to cycle, from Malin Head to Mizen Head, to highlight the need for more donors.
The cycle will be led by Chief Supt Michael Finn, Insp Finbarr O’Sullivan, and Sgt Pat Harrington, and will take four days to complete.
Chief Supt Finn said that in times of financial hardship, it was decided that seeking money off people for charitable purposes wasn’t really an option but giving vital blood cost nothing.
He explained that the majority of the cyclists are members of Cork City Divisional Traffic Corps, who are often the first emergency services to arrive at the scene of a bad accident.
Even though the cycle won’t take place until Apr 26 next, 100 new donors have already signed up.
Sgt Harrington, who is in the traffic corps, said the country normally has a stockpile of five days’ worth of blood but this can drop to three days during periods of peak demand.
“Every six minutes a unit of blood is required for patients,” he said.
“The traffic corps members are frontline responders when it comes to serious injury accidents and we’re acutely aware of people needing transfusions.
“In our job we also carry out escorts for seriously ill patients and escorts for blood transfers,” the sergeant said.
He said training had already begun for the cycle.
The traffic corps’ drive for new donors will be officially launched by the Irish Blood Transfusion Board’s chief executive, Andy Kelly, on Dec 6 in Cork.
In the meantime, new donors are asked to sign up at the Munster regional transfusion centre, which is located at St Finbarr’s Hospital.
Appointments can be made by contacting 021 4807341 and the clinic is open on Mondays and Wednesday from 8am-2pm and on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1.30pm-8pm.
People signing on as new donors to support the initiative are asked to state that they are doing it for the Garda Blood For Life Cycle.
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