The number of organ transplants carried out has been adversely affected by the pandemic. Not only do we need legislation in relation to the Human TIssue Bill to be passed as soon as possible, we also need a commitment from government that its goals will be underpinned by adequate resourcing to ensure:

  • the public understands the importance of family consent under the legislation and therefore the need for the family conversation (and the facility to record your wishes in a central database)
  • the public understands the societal benefit of organ donation
  • the public understands that organ donation is the gift of life AND a very positive legacy to one’s own family
  • the Intensive Care Units are supported by sufficient and suitably trained organ donation staff
  • hospitals understand the importance of organ donation and the need for ICU beds during the process of donation
  • adequate funding is in place to ensure that theatre space and all the qualified personnel that are needed are available
  • adequate funding is in place for after-care beds and staff
  • adequate funding is in place for post-transplant rehabilitation and psychological support

In Seanad Eireann on October 1st 2008 the second reading of the Human Tissue Bill (2008) took place. Human Body Organs and Human Tissue Bill 2008: Second Stage. – Seanad Éireann (23rd Seanad) – Wednesday, 1 Oct 2008 – Houses of the Oireachtas

The General Scheme of the Human Tissue (Transplantation Post Mortem Anatomical Examination Public Display) Bill was published on May 2nd 2019. – Minister for Health welcomes Government approval to publish Human Tissue Bill (

“The Bill will:

  • regulate the removal, retention, storage, use and disposal of human tissue from deceased persons;
  • provide general conditions for the removal, donation and use of organs and tissues from deceased and living persons for the purposes of transplantation;
  • provide for an opt-out system of consent for organ donation and for an associated register; and
  • provide for non-directed altruistic kidney donation.” – General Scheme of a Human Tissue (Transplantation, Post-Mortem, Anatomical Examination, and Public Display) Bill (

31 December 2019:

“Organ donation in this country is set to change to an opt-out regime per legislation to be brought before the Oireachtas early next year, said Health Minister Simon Harris.”

Organ donation opt-out system bill to go before Oireachtas ‘early next year’ (

29th December 2021:

“Legislation which would change organ donation to an “opt-out” system will be brought to Cabinet early in the new year, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has confirmed.”

‘Opt-out’ organ donation Bill to go to Cabinet next year, says Donnelly – The Irish Times

8th June 2022:

“The Department of Health says the legislation, which would include a legislative framework around human organs and tissue used in post-mortem examinations, is currently at an advanced stage and will be published “as soon as possible”.

The department cannot give a timeframe for the publication of the legislation.”

Government told it must publish Human Tissues Bill before end of Dáil term (

13th July 2022

“The Human Tissue Bill was due to be published last December but still has not been completed.

The Oireachtas business committee has now been told that the bill is still being finalised, with the intention of publishing it in the autumn.”

Autumn timeline for Human Tissue Bill ‘not good enough’ (

The Irish Kidney Association believes that in order to maximise organ donation in Ireland there needs to be an understanding of the limiting factors in the past and there needs to be an annual audit of potential organ donors to ensure that all efforts to improve the situation are targeted appropriately.The Bill focuses on organ donation from a public perspective and by all means we need to encourage a culture of organ donation amongst the general population through structured education programmes in schools as well as focused national, regional and local campaigns that address the needs and questions of all members of society. However, we must not forget about resourcing our health service to ensure that it too can foster a culture of organ donation from within.

Successive governments have been promising to legislate for organ donation for 14 years.

In summary the Irish Kidney Association’s position is that legislation in this area is long overdue but any legislation must be underpinned by appropriate resourcing as outlined in order for it to have an impact. The Irish Kidney Association has concerns about the delay in progressing the Human Tissue Bill as it is inhibiting meaningful change in anticipation of the legislation being enacted.

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