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Kelleher urged Govt to comply with organ donation regulation FF now wants to annul

3rd August 2013 - Simon Harris TD

Fine Gael Wicklow TD, Simon Harris, has today (Tuesday) Fianna Fáil’s attempts to get the Dáil recalled as farcical, considering the Party ignored multiple opportunities to raise any issues with the EU regulation on organ donation, which was signed into law a year ago.

“This Fianna Fáil stunt has reached farcical proportions. Fianna Fáil’s Health Spokesperson, Billy Kelleher TD, last September questioned the Minister for Health, James Reilly TD, in the Dáil, to ensure the Minister was complying with the EU regulation on organ donation which had recently been signed into law. Not only did Deputy Kelleher not take any issue with the regulation, he was actually eager to ensure the Government was complying with it.

“Almost a year later, after ignoring the numerous opportunities to raise this issue in the Dáil or the Seanad, the Fianna Fáil Party has been left with no option but to row in behind Senator Mark Daly and support his stunt to get the Seanad recalled. One would be forgiven for thinking that Billy Kelleher was catapulted into this situation by Senator Daly, who claimed during a radio interview yesterday that Deputy Kelleher was in favour of a Dáil recall.

“Fianna Fáil either doesn’t understand this issue or is deliberately trying to cause confusion. This EU regulation simply deals with safety standards in Irish hospitals. The main issues relating to organ donation – such as a new opt-out system – will be dealt with by the Human Tissues Bill. That legislation is at an advanced stage, and the Minister for Health has already started a public consultation process. Fianna Fáil, meanwhile, failed to introduce any substantial legislation dealing with organ donation during its last 14 years in Government.

“It’s worth considering the many opportunities Fianna Fáil has ignored over to debate the EU regulation on organ donation, since it was signed into law 12 months ago:

1. Fianna Fáil had a total of 15 Private Members slots in the Dáil and Seanad in the last 12 months. They did not use any of these occasions to discuss organ donation
2. This means Fianna Fáil had 45 hours of debate, during which organ donation could have been raised.
3. In April, the Technical Group had a Private Members Bill in the Dáil on organ donation, which the Government supported. Billy Kelleher spoke on it. He did not raise any concerns relating to the EU regulation on organ donation.
4. Also in April, the Oireachtas Health Committee had two full days of hearings on organ donation. At no stage did any Fianna Fáil representative raise any issue in relation to the EU regulation on organ donation.

“It is hard to believe that Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin TD, isn’t embarrassed by this charade. Deputy Martin was in Government when three previous EU regulations on organ donation were signed into law by way of statutory instrument. Furthermore, the Attorney General has made it clear that the actions being employed by Fianna Fáil will make no difference to the regulation to which they are now objecting, 12 months after it was signed into law. It is shameful that Fianna Fáil is using such an important issue as organ donation as a political football.” 

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