Plea for O negative donors as blood supplies dwindle to just four days due to Ophelia

An urgent call for O negative blood donors has been made by the Irish Blood Transfusion Service after supplies dwindled to just four days because of the loss of a full day’s collection due to Storm Ophelia.

“We especially need O negative blood at the moment,” a spokesperson said. Only 8% of the population have 0 negative blood but it makes up 15% of the blood supplied to hospitals as it can be used for any patient.

The cancellations of all clinics on Monday led to a shortfall of about 500 donations. Clinics were back to normal yesterday, with the exception of a scheduled clinic in Donegal town.

The IBTS provided additional capacity for blood donations in Dublin and additional clinics have been organised for Sunday in Dunboyne, Co Meath, Celbridge in Co Kildare, and Galway.

Meanwhile, the Irish Medical Organisation has warned of a backlog that has built up at GP surgeries and at hospital emergency departments because of Storm Ophelia.

The IMO said it would take some days to work through the backlog and that patients should continue to avoid attending both except in an emergency.

The Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE) revealed that temporary accommodation had been arranged for 368 people on the night of Storm Ophelia.

Some of those people were repeat clients of the homeless services in the capital, individuals who lost their homes over the weekend or else regular rough sleepers.

A spokesman for the Peter McVerry Trust said they engaged with 115 rough sleepers on Monday night. approximately 25 people refused shelter.

In the Capuchin Day Centre, close to Dublin’s Smithfield, a total of 103 people took shelter.

A group of volunteers including Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH), Lifeline Ambulance Service and former lord mayor Christy Burke came together to turn the centre into a hostel for the night.

ICHH CEO Anthony Flynn said the centre was “full to the rafters”, but that the charity’s outreach team still counted 45 rough sleepers out on the streets on Monday night.

Meanwhile, a number of social welfare claimants living in Cork city and county faced disruption to services yesterday.

The Department of Social Protection said power and technical outages caused by Ophelia led to the closure of offices in Clonakilty, Kinsale and Mallow and limited services in seven others.

The Defence Forces deployed 25 Army and Air Corps personnel, along with two vehicles and two helicopters yesterday morning to support the national response to Ophelia.

Some 21 Army personnel and two vehicles from the 3rd Infantry Battalion were sent to Kilkenny to support local authorities there with road clearance and mobility tasks.

Two Air Corps EC 135 helicopters were sent out to help ESB Networks conduct aerial surveys of power lines in the midlands and south west.

Meanwhile, Luas has been unable to resume services in Dublin until this morning at the earliest because the roof blew off the technical rooms which controls a number of areas including its vehicle location system.

“These are necessary to run the Luas operation,” a spokeswoman said yesterday. “These rooms and systems are being assessed for damage and assessed in relation to possible repair. It is therefore not possible for Luas services to resume at this point.”

Water tankers were deployed in a number of areas in Kerry yesterday as large numbers of people were left without water due to power cuts affecting reservoirs and treatment plants.

Up to 20,000 customers had been left without electricity, mostly in the south of the county. Most of the 3,000 homes without power in the north of the county were restored by lunchtime yesterday. However it was expected to be days before more than 6,000 homes still out in south Kerry will be restored. A spokesman for the ESB said tree fall in the south of the county had damaged power lines in remote areas.

Roads remained dangerous and the county council, which suspended work when darkness fell, appealed for patience and warned road users to watch for fallen trees, debris and branches. The main N71 Ring of Kerry Road at Moll’s Gap remained closed. Trees fell in up to 40 roads including across the Healy Pass.

All national roads were clear in Tipperary by midday apart from the N74 from Golden to Cashel, the Mill Road in Thurles and the Rock Road in Ballycahill. Electricity supplies which were hit in many parts of the county have largely been restored, although water services have been affected in several areas. The Galtee water supply scheme in the west of the county was cut but expected to be restored by Tuesday evening.

Waterford City and County Council reported trees down in a number of locations across the county, including Kilmeaden, Ballyduff, Bonmahon, Kilcooney, and Tooraneena. Over 4,000 homes and businesses were still without power on Tuesday morning, with ESB crews working to restore services as quickly as possible, while water services were also hit in several areas.

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