Changes to organ donation laws required - Flanagan
Sinn Féin MLA Phil Flanagan has called for the introduction of legislation providing for an opt-out organ donation system.
The Fermanagh & South Tyrone MLA was speaking after he paid tribute to Oisín McGrath, whose organs were donated to five people after his tragic death last week.
Mr Flanagan said:
“Oisín achieved much in a short life. His passing is a terrible loss to his loving family, to the wider McGrath and Dolan families and to the many friends he had.
“His parents, Sharon and Nigel, have demonstrated amazing strength in dealing with their tragic loss.
“I spoke with them on Saturday evening in their home and they have drawn comfort from the support they have received from their friends, neighbours and the wider community.
“Oisín’s tragic passing has had a devastating impact on his family, the community in Belcoo and also the school community in St Michael’s.
“Oisín was a keen sportsman, with a fond interest in Gaelic games, soccer and athletics. He will be dearly missed. But so many people across Ireland have now heard about Oisín, who he was and the legacy that he leaves behind.
“As a result of Oisín’s tragic death, five other people have received organ transplants and have been given a chance to experience a more fulfilling life.
“Nigel and Sharon were forced to make the difficult decision whether to donate Oisín’s organs or not. They decided to do so on the understanding that it is what he would have wanted.
“However, families should not have to go through such an ordeal at such an emotional time.
“We need changes to the laws around organ donation. It has long been spoken about but never delivered.
“In February 2013, the previous Health Minister, Edwin Poots, announced a consultation on the introduction of an opt-out system for organ donation, with the support of both the First & deputy First Ministers.
“However, the necessary legislation to enact this has yet to be introduced.
“Let one of Oisín’s many legacies be a change to our organ donation laws. Parents and families should not be forced to decide what to do with a loved one’s organs.”