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The Gay Blood Ban could be lifted in Northern Ireland

The blood ban currently in place is to be looked into and decided whether or not to be lifted by the current Health Minister, Simon Hamilton.

The lifetime ban which prevents gay men from donating blood has been in place from the 1980's but was lifted in Great Britain in 2011, Northern Ireland however has failed to follow in doing the right thing. Previously, former Health Minister Edwin Poots fought to keep the law in place, however his claims have now been dismissed due to irrational behaviour, bias and a pre-determined opinion due to his Christian beliefs.

Pervious health ministers Edwin Poots and Jim Wells have said the prohibition should be kept in place in Northern Ireland on the basis of ensuring public safety. Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan rejected these unfounded claims by saying,

"There is no basis for the conclusion that the minister's decision in this case was pre-determined by his Christian beliefs, and there is ample evidence to indicate that the minister approached the decision-making by evaluating the competing factors before adopting on a precautionary basis the status quo.

"We do not consider that the fair minded and informed observer could conclude that there was a real risk of apparent bias."

The Rainbow Project have voiced their disappointment regarding the issue.

“The SABTO report was published 5 years ago and today’s judgment follows four years of legal proceedings and it is disappointing that their lordships have failed to recognise that there is no reasonable, rational or medical reason to maintain this lifetime ban, particularly in light of the fact that all other regions of the UK have moved to a temporary deferral,” said John O’Doherty, The Rainbow Project’s director.

“We would once again urge Minister Hamilton to accept the advice given by the experts in SABTO and adopt the one-year deferral which exists in all other parts of the UK.”

This issue has been debated for over five years and tens of thousands of pounds of public funds have been spent on maintaining a lifetime ban.

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