The government has approved an opt-out scheme for organ donation.
Yesterday, Health Minister Simon Harris, brought forward a motion to the Cabinet which will see families give authorisation for organ donation.
The aim of the new Bill, called The Human Tissue Bill, is to regulate the removal, retention, storage, use and disposal of human tissue from the deceased.
The government approved a draft of the new bill and a public consultation on the matter will take place before the end of the summer.
At the moment, Ireland uses an opt-in system of organ donation, which means people must state their intention to donate their organs in the event of their death before a donation can take place. The final decision rests with their next-of-kin.
In the event of the death of a loved one, families will have the option to stop their organs being donated if it is against their wishes.
According to The Irish Times, Mr Harris said: “This has been long-talked about in this country and today we take a step closer to it becoming a reality.
“I want to see a time where organ donation is the norm when people pass away in circumstances in which donation is a possibility.”
“An opt-out system of consent for organ donation and accompanying publicity campaign will raise awareness among individuals and encourage discussion among families of their intentions in relation to organ donation.
“In this way, individuals can increase the chances that their organs might be utilised after their death, and can ensure that those left behind will have the satisfaction of knowing that their wishes were carried through.”
The Human Tissue Bill also puts in place legislation to ensure no tissue will be retained without authorisation from the family. It will also make it illegal for any human tissue to retained after a post-mortem without consent from the family.
The first draft of The Human Tissue Bill, which has been promised for several years now, will be brought to the Cabinet this Autumn.
It is certainly encouraging news for those who are on a transplant list and hopefully, the new bill will prompt families to discuss the issue of organ donation.