The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network has welcomed a review into the ban on gay men who engage in certain sexual contact from donating blood.  

The report from the Irish Blood Transfusion Service outlines a number of alternatives on the issue, including a total removal of the ban.

The ban was introduced in the mid-1980s at a time when fear about AIDS was at it highest.

Men who had sex with another man was not allowed to donate blood.

The rule still remains today, but there have been calls for the ban to be relaxed. 

A report from the Irish Blood Transfusion Service has outlined what options are open to the Department of Health on the issue.

The report which has not yet been published but seen by RTÉ News says that the ban: "causes condiserable offence to some in society... It is seen to stigmatise a group who are emerging from many centuries ... of official ignorance."

The report said:  "it is generally considered reasonable to curtail some activities of some individuals where matters of public safety are involved"

Three options were assessed in the report whether or not to remove the ban. 

If the ban should be left in place or the introduction of a deferral period where a gay man could donate blood if he had not engaged in certain sexual contact in the last year of a 5 year period.

Those leading the campaign to have the rules changed, have welcomed the report, saying it represented real progress