Republic lifts ban on gay men giving blood
THE Republic is lifting its lifetime ban on gay men donating blood.
Health minister Simon Harris revealed the decision days after the reform was recommended in a report by the board of the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS).
The move will allow men who have sex with men to donate blood a year after being sexually active or five years after they have been cleared of a sexually transmitted infection.
The ban was put in place in the 1980s when Aids became a major sexual health risk but the reform now brings the Republic into line with Northern Ireland, which commences its new policy in September.
Mr Harris said he welcomed the move.
"I would like to thank the chair of the IBTS, Professor Anthony Staines for their work and I have asked that they continue to engage with my officials on the development of a robust implementation plan to support this change in blood donation policy so that the policy change, its rationale and its implications can be well implemented and clearly explained to all potential blood donors, recipients of blood products and the general public," he said.
"Once this is in place it will be possible to set a date from which this policy change will commence."