Sinn Féin calls on Minister Harris to follow the lead in the North and lift blood ban
Sinn Féin spokespersons on Health and LGBTQI rights have today called on the Minister for Health to follow the lead of the newly appointed Health Minister in the Northern Executive Michelle O’Neill and lift the outright ban on gay men donating blood.
Speaking today, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Louise O'Reilly TD said;
“It is past time that this ban was lifted and we are calling on Minister Harris to follow the lead of his counterpart in the Northern Assembly and lift this ban.
“We understand that this has been recommended by a conference of the Irish Blood Transfusion Service, but it requires the sanction of the Minister for Health. Therefore, Minister Harris should follow the good example set by Michelle O'Neill and end this discriminatory ban now.”
Sinn Féin spokesperson on LGBTQI rights Senator Fintan Warfield said:
“Until today, men who have had sex with men have been denied outright the opportunity to play their role in giving one of the most precious gifts, blood.
“The sentiment of the existing ban in the 26 counties is entirely disingenuous and conveys a homophobic overtone. The ban on gay men donating blood is a throwback to the 1980s. Gay blood is good blood
“This is another step forward for equality. We need the harmonisation of rights and entitlements across the island including marriage equality in the north.
“I commend Michelle O’Neill for taking the initiative and I call on Minister Simon Harris to follow her lead.”