ONE year on from the passing of Dáithí's Law by the Assembly, his family and supporters are continuing their efforts to have opt out organ donation implemented.
The Organ and Tissue Donation (Deemed Consent) Act 2022 – known as Dáithí’s Law after six year-old Ballymurphy boy Dáithí Mac Gabhann – passed the final stage at the Assembly on February 8 last year.
Dáithí has been on the heart transplant waiting list since 2018 and his family has tirelessly campaigned for the legislation on organ donation to be changed to help increase the number of donors.
Grateful to have the support of the @allianceparty and hope to get the action that #DáithísLaw needs and deserves. @StephenFarryMP @PaulaJaneB @connieegan94 @AlliancePartyUK… #Time4Action @chhcalling https://t.co/eGlvy4PaGI— Donate4Dáithí (@Donate4Daithi) February 6, 2023
The passing of the law at the Assembly was widely welcomed and meant that, when implemented, all adults, unless exempted, would be considered as potential donors unless they specifically opt out.
However, the full implementation of Dáithí’s Law has been delayed due to the lack of an Executive.
Dáithí’s father, Máirtín Mac Gabhann said: “This day last year, we celebrated the day when politics worked. A year later and we are bitterly disappointed that Dáithí’s Law will possibly be delayed due to politics not working.
“We are doing everything possible to fight the delay of Dáithí’s Law and are hopeful that the Secretary of State and our MPs in Westminster can still get it over the line in time for Spring 2023.
“A year on and we are now currently focused on Dáithí’s health, which has slowly been declining. Dáithí still remains stable, but we are on our way to Newcastle today for Dáithí to undergo a cardiac procedure to give us more answers.
“It is a very worrying time for our family, but we are hopeful to be home by the weekend, where Dáithí can continue his journey on the waiting list for the gift of life.”
Last week, Mr Mac Gabhann expressed his frustrations after a meeting with the Secretary of State left the family "angry and disappointed" as they were informed that the British Government would not be intervening to pass secondary legislation in the absence of a functioning Executive at Stormont.
Head of the British Heart Foundation Northern Ireland, Fearghal McKinney, added: “One year on from the passing of Dáithí’s Law at the Assembly, it's vital it is fully implemented as matter of urgency in order to save lives.
“Twelve months ago, the Mac Gabhann family, the Donate4Dáithí campaign, the organ donation and transplant community and the wider public celebrated this important legislation passing the final consideration stage at the Assembly.
“It was a great moment and a triumph for Máirtín, Seph and of course, Dáithí. It came after a long period of tireless and inspirational campaigning by so many."
A year ago today @niassembly passed Daithi's Law, today its implementation is stalled, as I said then, this law will save lives, it shouldn't be up to @chhcalling to do it but as there's no other option he must.https://t.co/mujtsDk9eB pic.twitter.com/mCV359oEbp— Robin Swann (@RobinSwann_MLA) February 8, 2023
Mr McKinney added that he didn’t think then that one year on they would once again be campaigning for this vital legislation to be implemented.
"Once again, there is widespread support for Dáithí’s Law to be implemented and a real desire to get this across the line," he continued.
“We in the BHF are fully behind the campaign to see this legislation in place in Northern Ireland as soon as possible.
"I have written to the Secretary of State urging him to act and our Chief Executive, Dr Charmaine Griffiths, has written to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak asking his government to do all it can to get this across the line and implemented in Spring 2023 as planned.”