Press Release

Statement by the Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD

The Minister for Health, Simon Harris, has announced today that having reviewed the report regarding a change in deferral policies for blood donation by men who have sex with men prepared by the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS), he is accepting their recommendation to reduce the current lifelong ban from donating blood to a one-year deferral and also to defer those with a history of a sexually transmitted infection for five years after that infection. The change to a one-year deferral, when implemented, will bring Ireland in to line with a similar deferral policy to commence in September in Northern Ireland and similar policies which are already in place in the remainder of the UK, Canada and elsewhere.

“I welcome the recommendation of the IBTS following the Government’s request to review the scientific evidence forming the basis for the lifelong ban from donating blood, which has applied and I have informed the IBTS of my decision to accept their recommendation. I would like to thank the Chair of the IBTS, Prof Anthony Staines for their work and I have asked that they continue to engage with my officials on the development of a robust implementation plan to support this change in blood donation policy so that the policy change, its rationale and its implications can be well implemented and clearly explained to all potential blood donors, recipients of blood products and the general public.Once this is in place it will be possible to set a date from which this policy change will commence”.