Stormont moves step closer to ‘opt out’ organ donation

Proposals to change Northern Ireland’s organ donation rules will be debated at Stormont today.

Monday, 20th September 2021, 8:47 am
Updated Monday, 20th September 2021, 9:56 am

If ultimately approved, the move from an ‘opt in’ system to one where people will automatically become donors unless they opt out, will bring Northern Ireland into line with the other UK regions.

The aim of the bill has the support of all major parties and is likely to become law if it can be progressed to its final stage before the end of the assembly mandate – currently May 2022.

However, DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has warned that his party could collapse the power-sharing executive before then over concerns around the post-Brexit Northern Ireland Protocol.

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A surgical procedure

Máirtín MacGabhann, whose four-year-old son Dáithí has been on the waiting list for a new heart for three years described the proposals as “a massive step” forward for Dáithí and others in the same position.

“A transplant is used when all other options have been exhausted, it’s the last hope for them,” he told the BBC.

“There is something that our politicians can achieve to increase your loved ones chances of receiving the vital organ.

I’m just pleading with those politicians to please give these important pieces of legislation a fighting chance because they can change our society so much,” he added.