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Council to write to Minister for Health concerning low number of organ donations

9 May, 2017 - by Enda Fanning


South Dublin County Council is to write to the Minister for Health Simon Harris to express concern at the low number of organ donations and to urge the Minister to bring in a change in law regarding such donations.


The Council’s action follows a Motion put forward by Cllr. Ronan McMahon at a recent meeting. Cllr. McMahon, who donated a kidney to his son last year, urged a change in the law to a system of presumed consent as opposed to the current opt-in system.


Cllr. McMahon’s motion received unanimous support from his fellow councillors including fellow Templogue-Terenure councillor, Enda Fanning, who also donated a kidney to a friend last year.


Speaking at the Council meeting, Cllr. Fanning said:


“I fully support Cllr. McMahon’s motion and urge the government to change the law urgently to a soft opt-out system of organ donation.


Four years ago, the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health and Children received submissions from stakeholders in the field of organ donation including doctors, consultants and surgeons as well as organisations and representative groups, interested individuals and the Department of Health. A comprehensive report on Organ Donation in Ireland was then published by the Oireachtas Committee in September 2013 and a Dáil debate followed. There was full agreement that a soft opt-out system should be introduced as soon as possible. (The soft opt-out system presumes consent but allows for the family of the next of kin to always be consulted).


During that Dáil debate the then Minister for Health, James Reilly, stated that he was aware that a number of practical issues needed to be addressed before an opt-out system was introduced here but that any such outstanding issues would be addressed “in the coming months” as the legislative proposals were drawn up and an implementation plan developed.


And yet here we are four years later still waiting. A wait that is costing lives with no indication of when the change in law will occur.


I am happy to join with my colleague Cllr. McMahon here today to urge the government to act now, as  matter of urgency. The groundwork for a change in legislation has already been done. There are no excuses".

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