Shaun Connolly (Political Correspondent) Wednesday, August 14, 2013
A bid by Fianna Fáil to recall the Dáil from its summer recess in order to deal with the issue of organ donor transplants has won the backing of Sinn Féin.
Fianna Fáil health spokesman Billy Kelleher conceded logistics were against the move, as 56 TDs — a third of the total — must back it by Friday, but said he wanted to try.
The Seanad is breaking the nine-week Oireachtas summer break to debate the organ donation situation next Tuesday.
This follows a campaign by Senator Mark Daly, who has attacked Health Minister James Reilly for signing an EU directive on organ donation into law without the issue being discussed in either house of the Oireachtas.
For the law to be repealed, it must be voted on by the Dáil and Seanad by Aug 27.
Mr Kelleher insists the law as it stands is flawed and Dr Reilly has missed an opportunity to provide much greater hope and support to patients waiting for organ donations.
“I accept the logistics are very hard, but I think it would be unfair on the Seanad to just go ahead and discuss it without the Dáil at least making the effort that they would try and rescind this statutory instrument.
“This is a very important issue as it highlights the lack of commitment to organ donation and the lack of infrastructure, and it highlights scrutiny of EU law and EU directives is sometimes not what it should be.”
Even if Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin won the support of all the independents for a recall, they would still fall short of the numbers required and would need the some of the whipless Fine Gael and Labour rebels to back them.
Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Sinn Féin’s health spokesman, said Dr Reilly needs to be held to account on the issue.
“Given the inadequate nature of the government’s implementation of the EU regulation on organ donation and the manner in which the regulation was handled by the Government, Sinn Féin TDs are supporting the call for a recall of the Dáil to debate the matter and to require better legislation.
Fine Gael Wicklow TD Simon Harris branded the move a “stunt”.
“This Fianna Fáil stunt has reached farcical proportions. Mr Kelleher last September questioned the minister for health in the Dáil, to ensure the minister was complying with the EU regulation on organ donation which had recently been signed into law,” said Mr Harris.
“Not only did Deputy Kelleher not take any issue with the regulation, he was actually eager to ensure the Government was complying with it.”
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Be part of the Conversation! Tweet @SenatorMarkDaly to follow our progress on recalling the #Seanad and Dail Eireann to debate & annul this flawed legislation, and stay up to date on Mark’s work for Organ Donation and Transplantation in Ireland here. The Seanad will be recalled from recess next Tuesday, 20th August.