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Edwin Poots' bid to overturn rulings that gay blood ban was irrational and "infected" by bias will not take place until October

By Alan Erwin

Former Health Minister Edwin Poots' bid to overturn rulings that his ban on gay men giving blood in Northern Ireland was irrational and "infected" by bias will not take place until October.

Challenges to judicial verdicts that he also breached the ministerial code and appeared to have been influenced by his Christian beliefs in maintaining the lifetime prohibition have been hit by delay as lawyers wait the outcome of similar proceedings in Luxembourg.

The European Court of Justice is yet to reach a decision on a challenge to France's ban on gay men donating blood.

Judges in Belfast yesterday re-listed Mr Poots' appeal for a hearing to begin on October 12 - nearly four years after judicial review proceedings were issued.

In January the High Court made a second determination against the former minister.

Mr Justice Treacy held that his ban on gay blood donations was infected by apparent bias.

The gay blood ban, put in place during the 1980s Aids threat, was lifted in England, Scotland and Wales in 2011.

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