Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 1 November 2014

Edwin Poots pilloried over gay men blood donation challenge

Health Minister Edwin Poots
Health Minister Edwin Poots

The Health Minister Edwin Poots has been accused of squandering public funds after his decision to challenge a decision to allow gay men to donate blood in Northern Ireland.

Mr Poots began the appeal after it was ruled that the decision to lift the ban in Northern Ireland should be decided by the UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

However, in a new twist, the Department of Health in England has said that the decision should be a devolved matter and began their own legal appeal.

Last October, a judge at the High Court in Belfast said Mr Poots' decision to maintain a lifetime ban in Northern Ireland while the rest of Britain had its ban lifted in 2011 was "irrational".

Speaking after the announcement of the two legal cases, Sinn Fein's Caitriona Ruane said: "I'm appalled that Edwin Poots is squandering public money to defend discrimination.

"Look at the state of the health service, look at his lack of management, people waiting on trolleys and dying in hospitals and what he is doing is squandering public money, defending the indefensible.

"The DUP needs to look at these court cases and accept court rulings on the basis of equality, rather than their own religious or personal opinions."

Deputy director of Gay and Lesbian Youth Northern Ireland, Mark Brown, said: "We oppose Mr Poots on two grounds, the first being the unjustified court challenge and the second being his personal crusade which shows a bias beyond the realm of politics."

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