MSM blood legal battle branded wasteful

The homophobic legal battle over who can donate blood in Northern Ireland was today, Monday, 12 October 2015, branded ‘wasteful’, with the Minister for Health refusing to divulge the spiralling costs.

Green Party deputy leader Clare Bailey said,

“This wasteful farce must not continue. We call on Minister Hamilton, whenever he returns to his desk this week, to immediately move to the same policy as that adopted by the rest of the UK almost four years ago.

“There is no evidence to support the ban. Previous Ministers have been adjudged to have been irrational and ‘infected with bias’.

“Around £40,000 had been spent on this case by January 2015, with on/off Health Minister Simon Hamilton refusing to outline how much the Department’s ongoing legal battle is anticipated to cost the taxpayers.

“There is no evidence of any increased risk caused by a change to a one year deferral. This Minister has an opportunity to fulfil his promise to act on the basis of evidence and expert opinion by following the recommendations of the independent expert advisory group, rather than the homophobia of his predecessors.”

NOTES TO EDITORS:

1. Former Health Minister Edwin Poots was judged ‘irrational’ in 2013, and when he wasted time and money on an appeal, the judge said his decision was ‘infected with bias’.

2. Former Health Minister Jim Wells chose to continue to refuse to follow the policy decisions of Health Minsters in the rest of the UK, despite Northern Ireland continuing to import MSM blood from these England, Scotland and Wales

3. Earlier this year, it was revealed that despite saying there was evidence to support his stance and challenging a court ruling to reveal it, there was no actual evidence.

4. Green Party MLA Steven Agnew has asked a number of AQWs relating to the costs of the legal challenge:

June 2015: http://aims.niassembly.gov.uk/questions/printquestionsummary.aspx?docid=238343
May 2015: http://aims.niassembly.gov.uk/questions/printquestionsummary.aspx?docid=233712
January 2015: http://aims.niassembly.gov.uk/questions/printquestionsummary.aspx?docid=219278

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