Secretary of State should Act on Organ Donations, says Alliance Representatives

Alliance MLAs have reiterated their calls for the Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris to intervene to ensure an ‘opt-out’ organ donation system can be introduced in Northern Ireland. Changes introduced by the Organ and Tissue Donation Act were due to come into force this Spring, but are unable to progress without necessary secondary legislation.

Health Paula Bradshaw Connie Egan

In a response to a written question from Stephen Farry MP, Mr Heaton-Harris acknowledged that “the absence of Northern Ireland Assembly business is causing unnecessary delays in the introduction of this life-saving legislation”, but did not commit to taking action.  

“This will be a further disappointment to campaigners like Máirtín MacGabhann and his son Dáithí, who were instrumental in seeing this legislation pass in the first instance. I hope that the Secretary of State will indeed meet with the family to explain his reluctance to intervene,” said Paula Bradshaw MLA, Alliance’s Health Spokesperson. 

“I appreciate that this secondary legislation should come from the Assembly, but Mr Heaton-Harris should act, given the support the Bill received from all parties last year and its life-saving potential. It is an overdue change which is already in place across the rest of the UK, and it is my understanding the Department of Health is ready to press ahead.” 

Connie Egan MLA added, “It is clear for anyone to see that there are consequences for the DUP’s refusal to engage in our political institutions. Whilst, I urge the Secretary of State to intervene in this instance, the status quo of ransom politics cannot continue. 

“We need a functioning Executive as a matter of urgency, not just to see the introduction of “opt-out” organ donation, but to transform our health system, tackle the cost of living crisis and address all the other mounting pressures that our constituents rightly expect the Assembly to act upon.”