Sinn Fein calls for end to gay blood ban


Sinn Fein's Maeve McLaughlin called on the Assembly to call the health minister to account on his policy of retaining the ban on blood donation by gay men, on 5 November 2013.

Ms McLaughlin was proposing her party's motion, which called on the minister, Edwin Poots, to lift the ban and outline the steps he would take to build public confidence in relation to equality issues.

She quoted from a High Court judgement which ruled that Mr Poots did not have the power to retain a lifetime ban.

The judge also ruled the minister had breached Stormont's ministerial code by failing to take the issue before the Executive

Ms McLaughlin was critical of the way in which donated blood was imported from England.

She said the minister had confirmed that the Department of Health did not request that blood from England did not come from the MSM (men who have sex with men) category.

Ms McLaughlin argued that if a 12-month deferral policy were introduced, meaning men could not give blood within 12 months of having sex with another man, the risk would be increased by just 0.228 per million donations.

The Foyle MLA also called on the minister to make public the advice he had received ion retaining the ban.

The debate resumed after Question Time.

The second part of the debate can be viewed here.

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