Campaign launched calling for end to blood donor ban in Ireland

The campaign was set up following news that blood had been imported from the UK while many GBT+ men in Ireland are still subject to a donor ban.

a close up image of gloved hands inserting a needle in the arm of a man donating blood. A new campaign has launched calling for the end to blood donor ban in Ireland

On Friday July 2, a group of Irish students under the name Blood For All Ireland launched a campaign calling for an end to the 12 month blood donor ban on gay bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) currently imposed by the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS). 

The petition was launched following an announcement from the IBTS on Wednesday June 30 that they would be importing a consignment of blood from the NHS Blood Transfusion Service in Manchester to supplement a current Irish blood shortage. 

115 units of Rh-negative blood groups – O negative, A negative, and B negative – were collected from the NHS, without the IBTS addressing the restrictions on blood donation for the Irish men mentioned. 

Blood For All member, Oscar, highlighted the importance of lifting the blood ban and ensuring everyone can donate: “With one in four people needing a blood donation within their life and the complete shortage of blood donors in our country, [the regulations] should be reassessed. 

“Due to the archaic nature of the current regulations I will not be able to ever give blood, neither will a large majority of the LGBTQ+ community and this needs to change now.” 

Another member of the blood donor ban campaign, Dan Bisset, commented on why they felt the need to start the campaign, and their aims: “We’ve been inspired by the incredible work by so many Irish activists to help reform the blood donation system as it exists in Ireland. 

“In the face of this new blood shortage, we hope to apply pressure on the service to accept that their current discriminations against MSM and Sex Workers is unacceptable if they have been screened and tested properly. Everyone’s blood should be treated equally, and everyone should be scrutinised and screened in the same way. That’s our aim.”

You can find the Blood for All petition at this link, and follow their journey on Twitter and Instagram

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