Gay SDLP candidate not allowed to give blood in Ballymena

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Following a request for urgent blood donations today in the Ballymena area, SDLP North Antrim Assembly Candidate Connor Duncan attended but was unable to donate.

He says that he was prevented from doing so as a result of the on-going ban preventing gay men from donating blood.

He said: “Today has highlighted the absurdity of the continued ban on gay men donating blood. The Blood Transfusion Service is desperate for more donations and yet the Health Minister continues to exclude a large number of people as they try to save lives.

“This farce is compounded when you consider that the shortage of blood here means that we are importing blood stocks from Britain every day where gay men are allowed to donate.

“I welcome that the Health Minister has announced that he will lift the ban if advised but we are a month on now and it would appear that seeking advice is not high on his list of priorities. I and my SDLP colleagues are calling on him to take action on this matter as soon as possible.

“In the midst of a perpetual blood shortage, adhering to an archaic policy that was maintained by Ministers who were ‘infected by bias’ is not only offensive to the gay community but offensive to the thousands of people whose lives depend on blood transfusions every year.”