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Irish Kidney Association calls Government organ donation plans 'a waste of time'

Earlier this week Health Minister James Reilly began a consultation process to decide on whether organ donation should be made an ‘opt-out’ system.

Mark Murphy, Chief Executive, IKA speaking to an Oireachtas committee earlier this year.
Mark Murphy, Chief Executive, IKA speaking to an Oireachtas committee earlier this year.
Image: Screengrab

THE IRISH KIDNEY Association (IKA) has described the Government’s efforts to manage organ donation as “a lesson in how to bring in an EU directive without really doing anything”.

Earlier this week Health Minister James Reilly began a consultation process about the implementation of an ‘opt-out’ system for organ donation but the IKA has said that  international evidence shows that this system doesn’t guarantee an increase donation rates.

The independently funded body said that the implementation of EU rules on organ donation has been charged to the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the Irish Medicines Board (IMB) but that no details have been given on funding or staffing for this task.

Mark Murphy, chief executive of the IKA said that a singular transplant authority is the most effective way of increasing donation rates because it would manage and help people through the organ donation process:

The sharing of the competencies across two existing Government agencies, the IMB and the HSE, ensures the leadership required to drive organ donation is doomed because no leadership was established.

“Nowhere in Europe did changing the laws of consent, change organ donation rates. What is needed is to change organ donor systems,” he added.

Murphy cites the examples of Spain and Croatia where presumed consent was introduced but later reversed, the countries then brought in the proposals he is suggesting.

He adds that debate surrounding the introduction of an opt-in system has created a divide amongst the public on the issue which is unhelpful.

Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly is also criticising the Government’s legislative plans on organ donation, calling them “flawed”. As a result he is asking the Minister of Health to return early from Dáil holidays this summer to address the issue and allow further debate on the matter.

“This highlights the ineffective legislative process conducted on such an important issue by the Government. This was the first ever piece of organ donation and transplantation legislation in the history of the state”, said Senator Daly.

Read: Facebook campaigns have the power to ‘dramatically boost’ organ donation >

Read: Irish Kidney Association calls for increased infrastructure for organ donation >

Poll: Should Ireland introduce an ‘opt-out’ service for organ donation? >

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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