Belfast Telegraph

Edwin Poots' bid to overturn ban on gay men giving blood is delayed

By Alan Erwin

Health Minister Edwin Poots' bid to overturn rulings that his ban on gay men giving blood in Northern Ireland was irrational and "infected" by apparent bias has been hit by delay.

The Court of Appeal was due to hear challenges to judicial verdicts that Mr Poots also breached the ministerial code and appeared to have been influenced by his Christian beliefs in maintaining the lifetime prohibition.

But the case, which had been listed for a four-day hearing next week, may not now take place until after Easter. The appeal has been put on hold while lawyers wait the outcome of similar proceedings in Luxembourg.

Last week the High Court made a second determination against the former Health Minister. Mr Justice Treacy held that his ban on gay blood donations was infected by apparent bias.

He identified a "very troubling lack of candour" and an attempt by the DUP MLA to conceal the fact he had taken a decision to maintain the prohibition.

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