Today Mr Justice Treacy ruled that the current lifetime ban on any man who has had sex with a man from donating blood is irrational and unreasonable.

Mr Justice Treacy also ruled that the lifetime ban is both controversial, in that it generated much publicity and public debate with highly-polarised views, and cross-cutting in that it touches on equality issues, and as such the Minister had no authority to act without bringing the matter to the attention of the Executive Committee. The judge said that in doing so the Minister breached the Ministerial Code and had no legal authority to take this decision.

Mr Justice Treacy ruled that only the UK Secretary of State for Health is the competent authority to determine the appropriate deferral periods in NI and whether or not to maintain the lifetime ban.

Speaking on the ruling, John O’Doherty, Director of The Rainbow Project said: ‘We very much welcome this ruling from Mr Justice Treacy. It has always been clear that Minister Poots turned a blind eye to the evidence available to him and sought to maintain a ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood which was beyond his capacity.

‘This ruling is a shocking indictment of the conduct of Minister Poots, who has proven himself incapable of separating his personal prejudices from his public responsibilities.

‘This case, coupled with the adoption case, show that Minister Poots has continually wasted public money defending the indefensible and has absolutely nothing to show for it.

‘We now look forward to Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt overturning this unreasonable ban and ending this farce once and for all.’


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