26 January 2023

Good News for those requiring Organ Transplants in Ireland

Written by Ciara Hanratty

In a recent positive development, the Human Tissue (Transplantation, Post-Mortem, Anatomical Examination and Public Display) Bill 2022 (the “Bill”) approved by the Cabinet in November 2022, has now moved to the third stage before the Dáil.

Notably, the legislation includes a provision for an opt-out system of consent for organ donation. This means that when a person dies, there will be a presumption that the person is a donor unless they have opted out of the scheme of organ donation. The legislation is expected to result in the organ donor pool in Ireland increasing in size. Families of the deceased will continue to be consulted in advance of any organ donation taking place.

The Bill also introduces provisions aimed at ensuring that there are safeguards to protect the human body after death. The Bill provides for a regulatory regime to ensure best practice is followed in respect of post-mortem processes and organ retention. The Bill also makes provisions in relation to the practice of anatomy and will legislate for the governance of the public display of bodies in Ireland. The latter issue was most recently brought into public focus by the decision of a museum in England to remove the bones of Charles Byrne (known as the ‘Irish Giant’) from the display.

The enactment of the Bill, which has been debated in the Dáil this week, is a priority for the Government, following on from the findings of the Dunne Inquiry in 2005 and the Department of Health and Children report in 2009. The new legislative framework will be eagerly awaited by those awaiting organ donation and transplant surgery in Ireland.

If you would like any further information or advice, please contact Ciara Hanratty from the Healthcare team.

*This information is for guidance purposes only and does not constitute, nor should be regarded, as a substitute for taking legal advice that is tailored to your circumstances.

About the author

Ciara Hanratty

Senior Associate

Ciara Hanratty is a Senior Associate in the Healthcare team of Carson McDowell’s Dublin office. Ciara works in a general practice in Dublin, predominantly practising in the area of personal injuries law as well as acting on behalf of members of an association before their statutory body.

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