Twelve Irish people have been waiting up to a year for liver transplants in Ireland, new figures from the liver transplant unit at St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin reveal.

According to Michael Moloney, a spokesman for the unit, the list had recently been as high as 25, but a steady flow of donations over the summer has reduced it significantly.

Thirty-five per cent of the transplants are required for alcohol-related reasons, Moloney said.

Jo-Anne Sexton, a therapist from the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, said she wasn't shocked by the figures and had seen a huge rise in the number of youths presenting themselves to her for alcohol addiction.

"I am not overly surprised that the predominant cause for this is alcohol nor that there are 12 people on a waiting list for a transplant," she said. "It is one of my biggest concerns at the moment that the rise in alcohol addiction seems to be mainly in today's youth. Thankfully, some of them realise their problem is out of control and they come and seek therapy."

In relation to the liver transplant waiting figures, Sexton says those who are addicted to alcohol and ignoring the problem "need to be aware of the long-term effects before it is too late".

"There are more long-term effects than just liver problems. This affects a person's whole life and can impact on things like a person's fertility and future mental health. Physically they see no short-term effects but this is a false security."

Moloney stressed the importance of encouraging more donors into the health system to eradicate the waiting list.

"It is very important that we encourage donors for liver and organ transplants, now more so than ever," he said.