Dáith's Law: MPs are likely to support new laws governing organ donation

MacGabhann, Dáith

The family of a six-year-old boy from Northern Ireland who needs a heart transplant is traveling to Westminster where new legislation regarding organ donation is anticipated to receive support from MPs.

Dáith's Law, which bears his name, was postponed as a result of the political impasse in Stormont.

However, the UK government's last-minute intervention will now guarantee the implementation of a new opt-out system.

That will harmonize the laws of Northern Ireland with those of the rest of the UK.

The Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill, which was introduced on Wednesday and is currently being debated in the Commons, will be amended, according to Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton Harris.

Mr. Heaton-Harris claimed earlier this week that the government's intervention was an "exceptional" case and was being made "in recognition of just how important this issue is.".

After the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) prevented the election of a speaker last month, an attempt to pass organ donor laws at Stormont was unsuccessful.

The DUP has decided to abstain from participating in power-sharing institutions in protest of the Northern Ireland Protocol, which governs trade after Brexit. This indicates that there has been no government in Northern Ireland for a full year.

The deadline for holding new Northern Ireland assembly elections will be extended by the (Northern Ireland Executive Formation) bill, which is anticipated to pass all of its Commons stages on Wednesday.

By delaying the formation of the Stormont executive until 18 January of the following year, it will also push back the date of the Assembly election until at least 11 April.

"Achieving this remains my top priority because the people of Northern Ireland deserve to have a fully-functional devolved government working on the important issues impacting them," Mr. Heaton-Harris said in a statement.

This bill "creates the time and space needed to concentrate attention on restoring Stormont and for UK-EU negotiations to reach a solution on the NI Protocol that meets the needs of people throughout Northern Ireland. .

"An opt-out organ donation system will be implemented as part of the bill. Despite the fact that this extraordinary government intervention is welcomed and significant, I am disappointed that the NI Assembly's locally elected officials did not make the choice. ".

The Mac Gabhann family will observe the House of Commons deliberations.

The only area of the UK without an opt-out organ donation system is Northern Ireland.

In the Stormont assembly, Dáith's Law was first proposed in 2021 and completed in February 2022.

It would entail that, barring express consent, every adult in Northern Ireland would be regarded as a potential organ donor after passing away.

However, it was discovered last month that additional legislation was required to define which organs and tissues were covered by the opt-out system.

Continue reading: What is Dáith's Law and why has it been postponed?

By 6 March, the bill might have gone through all of its stages in Parliament.

The opt-out system could then start operating in Northern Ireland after a three-month lead-in period, which means it could be in place by the start of the summer.

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