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New driving licence organ donation initiative will help save lives

4th February 2013 - Colm Burke TD

Fine Gael Cork Senator, Colm Burke, has today (Thursday) said the new initiative introduced by the Department of Health and the Road Safety Authority which states, at the applicant’s request, the desire for organ donation will increase the number of donors and ultimately save lives.


“There is no doubt about the benefits of organ donation and the impact donation and transplantation have on saving lives. As was stated today in the Seanad the success of transplantation has, ironically, lead to organ shortages with the result that new and innovative ways of encouraging people to become donors need to be developed.


“The Minister for Health, Dr. James Reilly has undertaken a number of new initiatives to highlight the importance of organ donation and to encourage take up by the public. Changes to the driving licence application form, which allow the applicant to have a code included on their licence which indicates their desire to become a donor, make it infinitely easier for people to make their wishes known.


“New driving licences that are being issued can now have the code 115 included on them, specifying the licence holder’s intentions to donate their organs in the event of their death. A similar proposal is being examined by the Department of Social Protection to include an organ donation code on Public Services Card, which will indicate likewise.


“It is often the case that people who express an interest in organ donation, recognising that even after their death their organs can help save lives, but do nothing about it in terms of getting and carrying a donation card. By making it easier for people to make their intentions know, through initiatives such as this, organ donation rates can be improved and more lives can be saved.


“It is the Government’s intention to introduce an opt-out system of organ donation, with a view to increasing the availability of organs for those who need them. This will, of course, require detailed discussions and a considerable amount of work which the Minister is working on.


“I welcome the co-operative approach which is being taken between the National Organ Donation and Transplantation Office and the Irish Donor Network, which is comprised of a number of individuals and organisations concerned with organ transplantation, including The Irish Kidney Association, The Irish Heart and Lung Transplant Association and Irish Eye Bank.


“By continuing to make the benefits of organ transplantation known and making it as easy as possible to become donors we can dramatically reduce the number of deaths that result from organ failure. The Minister is to be commended for his work in this area and I look forward to new developments that are coming down the tracks.”

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