Northern Ireland news

Family of Dáithí MacGabhann urge public to get behind them as they continue organ donation law campaign

Little Dáithí MacGabhan with his family as they leave Hillsborough Castle following a meeting with Chris Heaton-Harris on Wednesday. Picture by Mal McCann
Suzanne McGonagle

THE family of Dáithí MacGabhann have urged the public to get behind them as they continue their fight for the implementation of organ donation laws in Northern Ireland.

Just a day after the six-year-old west Belfast boy and his parents met the secretary of state amid the delays in the opt-out donation system, his family have posted an appeal online.

In a post on social media, they said: "We are not giving up and need your help."

They urged followers to contact their local MPs or MLAs as well as write to Chris Heaton-Harris in a bid to urge them to push movement on the law.

The legislation, which was due to be named Dáithí's Law, was passed by MLAs last year but the secondary legislation required to implement it cannot be approved at Stormont due to the political stalemate.

Daithi, who has been on the waiting list for a heart transplant for most of his life, and his parents Máirtin and Seph met with Mr Heaton-Harris at Hillsborough Castle on Wednesday to discuss the delays in implementing the opt-out donation system.


Dáithí MacGabhan with his mother Seph. Picture by Mal McCann


Speaking afterwards, Mr MacGabhann said they were told it would take too long for the UK government to intervene and pass the laws at Westminster.

"Dáithí's Law deserves to have a go-live date in spring as planned but after the meeting today it looks like we're not getting that," he said.

He expressed concern that the family was being punished for the Stormont impasse and being used in a "political game of football" adding that time was not on the family's side as he stressed the seriousness of Dáithí's heart condition.

"We were at the funeral of a young boy last week who died of the same condition as Daithi, time is not on our side, we don't have the time," he added.

"That is what basically the secretary of state said to us, that it will take too much time if it was to go through him."

Northern Ireland news