Discussions are understood to be underway on the introduction of a paediatric heart transplant programme in Ireland.
The three to five children who need a heart transplant each year go to the UK, where the surgery is carried out, either in Great Ormond Street Hospital or Newcastle Hospital.
However, the clinical expertise to set up a programme and carry out the operations exists in Ireland and Prof. Jim Egan, Director of the National Organ Donation and Transplant Office, is understood to be discussing carrying the procedures out in Our Lady’s Hospital, Crumlin
It is believed that it would take a year to set up the programme in Dublin.
Discussions are also underway about arrangements for sharing donated organs between Ireland and the UK. At present donor hearts from Ireland are sent to the UK.