Press Release

Launch of Public Consultation on the Introduction of an Opt-Out System of Consent for Organ Donation

Dr James Reilly, TD, Minister for Health, today 19th July 2013, launched a public consultation on the introduction of an opt-out system of consent for organ donation.

The Minister said “Given the scarcity of organs available in Ireland for transplantation, it is important that as a society we do all that we can to increase the number of organs available for transplantation. A critical part of this is to build on the current positive attitude towards organ donation.”

Currently in Ireland, when a potential organ donor is identified, the deceased person’s family is asked for their consent to allow organ donation to take place. In line with the commitment in the Programme for Government, the Government now intends to change this system of consent to one where consent will be deemed unless the person has, while alive, registered a wish not to become an organ donor after death. This is known as opting-out.

In situations where consent is deemed, the deceased’s family or next of kin will still have an important role to play in the process of organ donation. The Minister pointed out that “in practice, there would be no instance whereby organ donation would proceed against the wishes of the next of kin of the deceased. If the next of kin objects to the organ donation, the donation will not proceed”.

The Minister is encouraging individuals, groups or organisations to submit their views on the practical aspects of introducing this system of opt-out consent for organ donation by Friday September 20th and is drawing people’s attention to the Department’s website for further information.