Organ donation set to increase with proposed ‘opt out’ system

Life-saving organ donations will increase under proposed human tissue legislation which will see people’s body parts automatically gifted for transplants.

Health Minister Simon Harris will bring plans to Cabinet which will herald a new ‘opt-out’ organ donation system, where people will be automatically registered unless they declare otherwise.

Under the changes, a person’s organs will automatically be harvested after a person has died.

The bill will regulate the removal, donation, and use of organs and tissue from a deceased for the purposes of transplants.

There will be a new register set-up. Currently, next-of-kin are asked for permission to use a person’s organs. They can still object or block a donation under the new system.

Department of Health sources said they expected organ donation numbers to increase under the new system.

Elsewhere, the Cabinet looks set to agree to an Irish Navy team officially joining an EU operation in the Mediterranean. While Operation Sophia has come in for some criticism over EU troops destroying boats and thereby forcing migrants to use more dangerous vessels, the operation primarily targets smugglers.

Ireland’s membership of the mission will be subject to the so-called triple lock or the approval of the United Nations, the Government and the Dáil. Operation Sophia was launched in June 2015 as part of the EU’s response to the global migration and refugee crisis, particularly to help those coming from Libya.

Irish naval missions in the Mediterranean are currently reliant on a deal with the Italian government. This runs parallel to Operation Sophia which involves France, Britain, Belgium, Spain and Germany.

The Dáil is expected to vote on the EU mission merger tomorrow after Defence Minister Paul Kehoe brings it to Cabinet today. Fianna Fáil is expected to support the motion.

Meanwhile, the government is also finalising its summer economic statement to identify the fiscal space or extra spending next year and is expected to focus on infrastructure bottlenecks neglected in the downturn.

Funds for roads, particularly improving the N20 between Cork and Limerick, speeding up the delivery of Dublin’s Metro and resourcing cash-starved education and health projects are set to feature.

However, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has limited wriggle room in the budget, with around half a million in fiscal space, €200m must go on public sector pay.


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