#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 7°C Sunday 23 January 2022

Northern Ireland lifting lifetime gay blood ban 'noted' by health minister

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service will examine the issue and make a recommendation to the Department of Health later this month.

Image: Shutterstock/wavebreakmedia

IRELAND’S HEALTH MINISTER Simon Harris has ‘noted’ the decision in Northern Ireland to overturn the lifetime ban on gay men donating blood.

This follows the announcement earlier today by NI Health Minister Michelle O’Neill that new policy on the issue will come into effect on 1 September.

As things currently stand both north and south of the border, a man who has had sex with another man is banned from giving blood for life.

Sinn Féin MLA O’Neill has said that gay and bisexual men who have had sex with another another man will be able to donate blood one year after last having had sex with another man.

O’Neill made the announcement earlier today during a visit to a The Rainbow Project, an LGBT activism group based in Belfast.

Gay men blood donation Michelle O'Neill and director of the Rainbow Project John O'Doherty pictured earlier today Source: Michael Cooper/PA Wire

The lifetime gay blood ban was introduced UK-wide in 1981 as a reaction to the AIDS epidemic of the time.

Currently a one-year deferral system is in place across the rest of the United Kingdom, something that was introduced back in 2011.

It is understood that the change will not be opposed by the Democratic Unionist Party, who had held the health ministry since 2011 and opposed earlier calls for a change of legislation.

South of the border, later this month the board of the Irish Blood Transfusion Service will consider a report from the Medical Advisory Committee on the issue, after which a recommendation will be made to the Department of Health.

Read: This 23-year-old student is challenging Ireland’s gay blood donation ban

Also: Blood supply for hospitals dangerously low ahead of St Patrick’s Day

Read next:


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel