Northern Ireland

DUP leader says progress on Dáithi’s Law is 'vital'

Little Daithi MacGabhan has been on the heart transplant list for most of his life. Picture by Mal McCann
Little Daithi MacGabhan has been on the heart transplant list for most of his life. Picture by Mal McCann

THE DUP leader has said that progress on Dáithi’s Law is "vital" amid the delay in the implementation of the opt-out donation system.

Speaking after he met with the father of Dáithí MacGabhann on Friday, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said it was a "significant piece of legislation".

He said the meeting was held to discuss issues facing the progression of the organ donation law after it emerged that despite it being passed by MLAs last year, the secondary legislation required to implement it cannot be approved at Stormont due to the political stalemate.

It also comes after 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 the secretary of state earlier this week to discuss the delays.

"Next Wednesday marks one year since the Assembly passed the final stage of Dáithi’s Law," said Sir Jeffrey.

"It was a significant piece of legislation not just for Dáithí and his family, but for all those across Northern Ireland who are waiting on a transplant.

"There was cross-party agreement in moving to the ‘opt-out’ system and there is similar unity in support of the further necessary legislation being brought to Parliament.

"It is important that all options are on the table, but the need for progress to be made quickly is vital.

"It is welcome that the Secretary of State is exploring all possible avenues, and whilst a Private Members Bill in the House of Commons also remains a possibility, this would not be the ideal route."

The party's health spokesperson Paul Givan, who also attended the meeting, said: "The government have moved quickly on occasion to bring forward legislation in relation to Northern Ireland, including in the face of significant local opposition.

"At a time of major political differences this legislation could be a powerful symbol of how Northern Ireland can come together.

"I pay tribute to Màirtín and Seph for their courage and determination.

"Having secured the breakthrough of legislation being passed in the Assembly, all that is required now is the final piece of this puzzle to be put into place both for Dáithí and all those who would benefit from the law into the future."