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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Swann speaks at launch of new organ donation laws

(L-R) Robin Swann MLA, Daithi and Máirtín MacGabhann, and Jo-Anne Dobson (KidneyCareUK Ambassador) 

(L-R) Robin Swann MLA, Daithi and Máirtín MacGabhann, and Jo-Anne Dobson (KidneyCareUK Ambassador) 

North Antrim Ulster Unionist MLA and former Stormont Health Minister Robin Swann has welcomed the introduction of legislation that has totally transformed Northern Ireland’s organ donation laws.

It was Mr Swann who developed and then steered the legislation through the Assembly in his previous role as Minister for Health.


Commenting at the event making the change in law, former Health Minister Robin Swann said: 

“The formal commencement of this legislation is a hugely important moment for Northern Ireland. Fundamentally, the intent of my Organ Donation Bill was to increase the number of organs available to people in need of a transplant and, therefore, ultimately save and lengthen lives.


“From this month, all adults across Northern Ireland will be considered potential organ donors unless they choose to very easily opt out. Before I even introduced the draft legislation, however, I was very conscious that it was going to be an incredibly sensitive issue and one that needed to be taken forward with the utmost care. That is why I made sure there are a wide number of protections in place for people, as well as including an extensive list of ‘excluded groups’.

Organ donation launch event


“I was really pleased that from the time I first announced my plan to introduce legislation right through to each of the many long and detailed sessions in the Assembly, the Bill had overwhelming public and clincian support.


“I think that was also because people in Northern Ireland took comfort at just how successful similar legislation had been in England and Wales.  In other parts of the world where ‘opt-out’ legislation has already been introduced the evidence shows that the number of successful donations and transplants have increased and fewer people are passing away whilst desperately awaiting a call that sadly never came. Organ donation transforms lives and reshapes futures. In the context of people supporting one another it has to be the most selfless and generous thing one person or family could do for another.


“Very few pieces of legislation or Bills that pass through the Assembly can be said to have saved countless lives over the many years to come. But it can be said for this one. And on that basis alone I consider it one of the most important decisions taken in Northern Ireland in recent times and it will forever remain one of my proudest political achievements.


“The legislation also demonstrated what can be achieved by a functioning Executive and Assembly, and how much Northern Ireland is losing out from the continued political stalemate here.”


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