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23 May 2022

Kildare Senator welcomes moves to lift ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood

Kildare Senator welcomes moves to lift ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood

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A Senator from Kildare has welcomes recent moves from the government to eventually phase out the controversial ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood.

Fianna Fáil Senator Fiona O’Loughlin said she was happy to hear the news that the one-year blood donation deferral policy for men who have sex with men is set to be lifted.

The Kildare-South politician has previously been vocal in her belief that gay and bisexual men should be able to donate blood, and wrote an op-ed in The Irish Sun calling for blood donation laws to be amended back in September.
 
An independent advisory committee to review the evidence base for deferral and exclusion around blood donation was established earlier this year.

The Group has recommended changes to deferral policy on a two-phased phased basis with the initial phase being introduced in early 2022 -   reducing the existing 12-month deferral for men who have sex with men to four months and that the second phase will introduce an individual assessment process for donors – once the Irish Blood Transfusion Service introduces an electronic individual risk assessment system similar to what's used in UK.
 
Commenting on this development, Senator O' Loughlin said: "I would like to thank Minister Donnelly for endorsing the lifting of the one-year blood donation deferral policy for gay and bisexual men donating blood."

"I have been campaigning for this change in law, which was discriminatory and wrong... a person's sexual orientation should not be a factor in their ability to give blood, in my opinion."

She continued: "Each individual donor should be assessed for their individual risk, regardless of their sexual orientation.

"I will continue to advocate for equal criteria in terms of blood donation: one that treats all donors fairly and does not discriminate against individuals based solely on their sexual orientation."

Yesterday, Senator Fiona O' Loughlin called for greater access for people with disabilities to personal transport schemes.

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