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One in 17 births here is premature

THE most recent statistics indicate that more than 6pc of live births here were premature. Premature birth is defined as a birth that occurs at less than 37 weeks.

"A key feature the group offers is access to support for families," said Allison Molloy, founder of Irish Premature Babies, and a mother of two premature babies.

"We run family meet-and-greet sessions and also provide a one-to-one support network called the 'Buddy System' run by our family liaison manager, Mandy Daly.

"This is a nationwide network of volunteers who offer support and understanding to others who have been through the premature baby journey," Allison said.

The group's website, www.irishprematurebabies.com, provides information on rights and entitlements, feeding information and other relevant topics.