All posts by orlaomuiri

Scotland’s Outdoor Pursuits 2011

Hats off to Andrew Richardson, managing director of The Scotsman Publications Limited who pulled off last weekends Scotland’s Outdoor pursuits 2011. Scotland’s landscape is a playground for adventurers and for the first time ever The Scotsman in association with Rat Race adventure sports decided to prove it by hosting Scotland’s Outdoor Pursuits 2011, a two day event in the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, which showcased the best adventure organisations that Scotland has to offer. Continue reading Scotland’s Outdoor Pursuits 2011

Blood Shortages due to lack of Awareness

by Orla O Muiri

Both Ireland and the UK suffer from low blood supplies because of a lack of awareness. The population of Ireland is over four million. Yet, only 3% of the population give blood. In the UK, the situation is worse with 4% of adults actively donating, providing blood for a population of 61 million.

John Kelly, Clerical Officer of Ireland’s said; “Despite the fact that we appear to have a high amount of donors compared to the UK figures. We still run short on supplies as over 3,000 blood donations are needed in Ireland every week.”

The world is seemingly oblivious to the posters, the tv adverts, the leaflets, and the free merchandise used by Ireland’s blood organization ‘’ and the UK’s ‘National Blood Service’ to encourage citizens to donate. Otherwise they are choosing to ignore them because of their pre conceived notions of what is involved in giving blood.

Andrew Pearce, Head of Donor Advocacy at the National Blood Service said; “Although we do tailor the way in which we advertise our sessions and appeal for blood to encourage certain people to donate, we can not always identify why people do not wish to give blood, as this could be for many reasons. We supply approximately 37,000 units of blood (red cells) each week to the hospitals.”

There are two systems of blood classification; the ABO system and the Rhesus system. Within this, there are eight sub categories of O-, O+, A-, A+, B-, B+, AB- and AB+.

One in four people will need a blood transfusion at some point in their lives.

Kathleen Furlong (60) retired nurse and blood donor said; “I like the idea that my blood has saved a life, it makes me feel good. I don’t understand people who don’t donate but expect to receive if it was them in an accident, there is a lack of awareness there.”

David Daly (34) accountant and non donor said; “It never occurred it to me to give blood and when it did it did not seem like much fun, time off work, needles, hospitals full of bugs. It’s just not for me.”

A unit of Blood lasts for just 36 days and the stock levels are falling. Stock Level’s in England taken on 06 Mar 2011 reveal a low supply in both AB negative (447) and B negative (866) blood. The total count of blood in England at the moment is 52,191 units  to serve a population of  61 million. Platelets have a shorter shelf life of five days. Around 22,000 doses are used in Irish hospitals per week.

The system of blood donation clinics in Ireland and the UK differ due to population dispersal. The UK has permanent blood bank establishments whereas Ireland has mobile clinics which travel around the country.

Kelly said; “What must be taken into consideration is the distribution of population in the rural setting. To have permanent clinics located in the two major cities in the country, and some of the smaller cities for example Limerick, Waterford, Kilkenny and Galway would require increased staff, equipment and fixed venues. These clinics would not serve the surrounding towns very well.”

Pearce said, “There are operational benefits in terms of having a purpose-built building and facilities at a permanent blood clinic, and this arrangement offers more flexibility for donors in the area who know they can attend on any day rather than perhaps 1 day every 4 months.  The disadvantages include the fact that for a clinic to be productive there needs to be enough potential donors in the area to keep the clinic full every day bearing in mind that donors can only give once every 12 weeks.”

The act of giving blood takes approximately 8-15 minutes, the total volume of blood donated is 470ml, which is less than a pint. Human beings contain the equivalent of ten pints. The blood organisations encourage a gap of 90 days between each donation, that is four times a year and four lives saved. World Blood Donor Day (WBDD) takes place on 14 June. The National Blood Service website says; “It is an opportunity to express gratitude to those who donate their blood in order to save lives without expecting anything in return.”


Fine Gael emerge as the winners on

By Orla O Muiri

Courtesy of Google

Results of are out, with Fine Gael dominating  the online poll, winning 63 seats. Ireland’s current government Fianna Fail obtain a mere 2 seats. is a new Irish website designed to allow Irish emigrants to cast a mock vote in last weekend’s parliamentary elections. The aim of the campaign is to alert the incoming government of the need for a system of postal, proxy or Internet voting system to be implemented. The results tally with that of the actual election, with Fine Gael and Labour emerging with the highest number of votes. Full results are posted here.

On the website Labour received the second highest amount of seats at 51, followed by a re-emerging Sinn Fein who took 23. said on their Facebook page, “thanks to everyone who got involved, took the time out to spread the word to the 6000 of us who voted at We may have come together just to vote, but it shouldn’t end here and it won’t.”


Nearly 6,000 Irish emigrants in 124 different countries took part in the poll. Supporters hope this figure will place pressure on the new coalition government to pass a law allowing Irish citizens abroad to vote in Irelands parliamentary elections.. The top five country’s  in terms of voting numbers were the UK, the US, Australia, Canada and Germany.

David McWilliams,Irish economist and broadcaster said, “The Irish diaspora is one of our greatest assets and those of the tribe who are now living abroad should never be cut off from the nation. By allowing them to vote, we bring our policy into line with the rest of Europe and tie these people to home, making it more likely that they come back with their skills and experiences to contribute to the country.”


Shane Black(26) an electrician living in Australia said, “Results have came out the same this time  but that was a give in. Fine Gael was the only real option, as Fianna Fail is to blame for Ireland’s current situation. What matters is that the issue of emigrants vote is not forgotten about, that we continue to push it through. Because there will come a time that we need it, that it will make all the difference, especially now as more and more of the Irish pack up and leave the country.”

The results of both the votes and the parliamentary election is a turning point in Irish history, as Fine Gael win the majority of seats and look set to come to power for the first time in 14years.To date, Fianna Fail has ruled Ireland for 56 years out of the 77 that Ireland has had its own government.