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Minister: There is no reason to annul the organ transplant legislation

Minister of State Alex White has hit back at calls for the organ transplant legislation to be annulled ahead of a Seanad debate on the matter next week.

Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

MINISTER OF STATE for Primary Care Alex White has this evening said that he sees no reason to annul the legislation concerning organ transplants in Ireland which is the subject of a recall of the Seanad next week.

Fianna Fáil senator Mark Daly has secured a debate in the upper house next Tuesday on what he says is flawed legislation concerning organ transplants in Ireland.

The EU Quality and Safety of Human Organs Intended for Transplantation Regulations 2012 – signed into law by a statutory instrument in August last year – is the first organ transplant law in the State’s history, but Daly says there needs to be a single authority handling organ donations.

However in a statement, White said the regulations set out a clear legal framework for the quality and safety standards for organ transplants and siad: “There is absolutely no reason to annul this Statutory Instrument.”

“Apart from putting Ireland in conflict with European legislation, such an approach would remove the statutory basis for vital aspects of a quality system for an organ donation and transplantation service thus exposing the citizens of our country to unnecessary dangers,” he added.

He said the Irish Medicines Board is the appropriate authority for authorisation of procurement and transplantation centres while he siad the HSE is the appropriate body for the quality and safety aspects of transplants.

Dáil row

Daly has argued that one single body would be more appropriate for dealing with transplants and has the backing of the Irish Kidney Association.

But White said: “Every hospital or healthcare facility at which any activity relating to donation, testing, characterisation, procurement, preservation, transport or transplantation of organs takes place must be authorised by the Irish Medicines Board.”

“Following the granting of an authorisation, the hospital or healthcare facility in question will be inspected by the IMB at regular intervals to ensure compliance.”

The Minister’s comments come amid a row over the possible recall of the Dáil to try and annul the legislation. Having secured a Seanad debate following a petition, Kerry-based Daly now wants to secure enough signatures to force a Dáil debate.

However the government, on the advice of the Attorney General, has told TDs that any recall would be redundant and attempts to annul the laws would be illegal.

This morning, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said that the legislature should not be excluded from debating legislation.

“Legislature should debate legislation, not be excluded from doing so. In respect to transplantation, which is a very important issue, it has been excluded from so doing,” he told RTÉ.

Separately the Fianna Fáil leader in the Seanad, Darragh O’Brien, has called on the Minister for Health James Reilly to attend next Tuesday’s debate.

Read: “Legislature should not be excluded from transplant debate” – Micheál Martin

More: Attorney General says Dáil recall to debate transplant legislation is ‘redundant’

Read: The Seanad is coming back on 20 August to debate transplant legislation

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Hugh O'Connell

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