Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Peter Robinson saddles up for organ donation campaign

First Minister Peter Robinson
First Minister Peter Robinson

Kitted out in his cycling gear, First Minister Peter Robinson looked quite the wheelman as he hit the pedals to support GAA star Joe Brolly’s drive to raise organ donation awareness.

The former Derry football star was behind a Life Cycle event on Saturday, with more than 300 riders turning up to take part in awful weather.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness also lent a hand, but spurned his bike and instead started the riders off from Harlequins RFC in Belfast using his favourite fly fishing rod.

The field was dotted with GAA players past and present and more serious riders from clubs all over the country.

A female team of transplant recipients also took part. Riders competed over either a 30-mile or 55-mile course around Co Down, but there was a more serious side to the event.

Mr Brolly (42) recently donated a kidney to Shane Finnegan, his friend and fellow coach at St Brigid’s GAA club in Belfast.

The transplant was unsuccessful, but he has campaigned for greater awareness of signing up for organ donation.

The case led to a public debate on the issue and a proposal for an “opt-in” system, where people are assumed to agree to donation after death if they have not stipulated otherwise.

Mr Robinson and DUP MLA colleague Sammy Douglas, who also took part, want to encourage people to think of donation.

Mr Brolly has fully recovered from his operation and plans to continue his campaign.

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