Galway Man Brings High Court Blood Ban Challenge


A Galway man has brought a High Court challenge after being told that he is permanently “deferred” from donating blood because he had a sexual encounter with another man.


Tomás Heneghan (23) of Castlebar, said that he considers blood donation an act of civil responsibility and has been donating blood since 2015, reports The Irish Times.

On May 19, Heneghan attended the Irish Blood Transfusion Service clinic to make a donation. He disclosed to staff that he had a sexual encounter with a man and that he had undergone tests, which returned negative results, but was still informed that he was “permanently deferred”.

Heneghan argues that the permanent deferral on blood donation imposed on him is discriminatory, disproportionate and contrary to EU law.

Tomás Heneghan (picture from Twitter)

Counsel argued that Heneghan’s permanent deferral breaches his rights under the European Convention on Human Rights, and runs counter to a recent decision of the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) concerning a similar permanent deferral policy adopted by the French authorities.

An individual inquiry of each blood donor is necessary to ensure that there is no discrimination against an individual on the grounds of sexual orientation, argued Heneghan’s counsel.

Justice Seamus Noonan said he was satisfied this was an appropriate case for granting leave for judicial review against the IBTS, the Minister for Health and the State

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