Seanad motion on organ donation defeated

Tuesday 20 August 2013 22.01
The Seanad was recalled from the summer break to discuss the motion
The Seanad was recalled from the summer break to discuss the motion

The Government required the casting vote of the Seanad Cathaoirleach to defeat a motion seeking to annul an EU Directive on organ donation.

European Union regulations on organ donations were signed into law by Minister for Health James Reilly without debate last August.

Fianna Fáil's Mark Daly collected 20 signatures from fellow members of the upper house to trigger a legal clause to recall the chamber from its summer break.

The campaign, initiated by Mr Daly, sought to get Minister Reilly to annul the legislation.

The Government parties opposed the motion, arguing that it would be illegal to annul the directive in the absence of a recommendation from the Oireachtas European Affairs Committee.

The vote was tied 22-22 and Cathaoirleach Senator Paddy Burke then cast his vote with the Government to defeat the Fianna Fáil-backed motion.

During the debate, Fianna Fáil leader of the Seanad Darragh O'Brien said Mr Reilly signed the EU directive into law without any consultation or scrutiny by the Dáil or Seanad.

He said the Government, up to now, was ignoring the major recommendation in the EU directive to establish a single national transplant authority.

Fine Gael's Seanad leader Maurice Cummins accused Fianna Fáil of engaging in a "political stunt" with the recall of the house.

He said the party had 110 sitting days to seek an adjournment debate, adding that more recently Fianna Fáil did not avail of eight opportunities to raise it in Private Members' Time. 

Independent John Crown called for speedy legislation to plug the holes in the existing transplant services.

He said Ireland has a serious issue with heart disease, yet only has one twenty-fourth of the heart transplant rate of the leading transplant country in the world.