A six-year-old Belfast boy has done what few have managed and united the leaders of the five main political parties at Stormont in common cause.
Daíthí MacGabhann and his family were at the forefront of a campaign to introduce an opt-out organ donation system in Northern Ireland.
It will automatically make people organ donors when they die unless they specifically state that they do not want to be.
Similar legislation was approved by the Irish Cabinet last November.
There are currently 130 people on the organ donor register in Northern Ireland waiting for life saving transplants and campaigners say the change is essential to save lives.
Daíthí and his parents celebrated last February when the Stormont Assembly voted to introduce the opt-out legislation.
It has become known as Daíthí's Law in honour of the young boy, who underwent major open heart surgery when just four-days-old and is on the waiting list for a new heart.
The legislation was supposed to come into effect this Spring, but the Department of Health at Stormont has said that cannot happen until additional, secondary legislation is introduced.
The problem is that as the power sharing administration at Stormont is not functioning, due to the DUP's boycott as part of its protest against the Northern Ireland Protocol, local politicians cannot pass the required legislation.
A six-year-old Belfast boy has united the leaders of the five main political parties at Stormont in a common cause. Daíthí MacGabhann was at the forefront of a campaign to introduce an opt-out organ donation system in Northern Ireland | Read more: https://t.co/jpK2k70rTx pic.twitter.com/6zPchKhEmk— RTÉ News (@rtenews) January 22, 2023
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Chris Heaton-Harris has the power to intervene and introduce legislation at Westminster, but last week said it was up to the local parties to get back into the power-sharing Executive to enable them to make decisions like this themselves.
That prompted the leaders of the five main parties to take the highly unusual step of sending a joint letter to him urging him to intervene.
The letter states: "It has become clear that further legislation is needed for the opt-out system to become fully operational.
"As leaders of the five main parties, we write to ask that your Department works with our Department of Health and legislates in Parliament to ensure that this new system for organ donation can be operational as soon as possible.
"We understand that the Department of Health has draft legislation prepared which could enable the law to be operational by the Spring of 2023."
Mr Heaton-Harris, who flew to the US today for a series of meetings to discuss trade and investment opportunities, has agreed to meet Daíthí's parents to discuss the issue.
"This is a non-contentious issue, the vast majority of our politicians agree with us, the public consultation was massive, with the vast majority of people in agreement, so we just don't see how this can't be brought forward by the Secretary of State," says his father Máirtín.
"Ideally it would be the Assembly bringing it forward. You know, we all want there to be a function of government here, but when that's not happening and the Secretary of State has the powers that he has, we are calling on him to do it."
Those who have backed the campaign for the change say the delay in the introduction of the new law could have serious implications for those waiting for organ transplants.
"There was euphoria when this law was approved last year and that wasn't just true for Daíthí and his family, it was also true for the wider public who supported the move," says Fearghal McKinney, head of the British Heart Foundation Northern Ireland.
"The 130 people that are currently on the organ donation register in Northern Ireland need this legislation enacted too and sadly over 10 may die waiting on that list.
"Think if you were on that waiting list knowing you have secured the support of the politicians and secured the support of the wider public for this change, but now more legislation is needed for it to go through."