MLA hits out at minister’s gay donor comment

A Derry MLA has branded comments made by Health Minister Edwin Poots on gay blood donors “repellent, irresponsible and ill-informed”.

Mark H Durkan was responding to Mr Poots’ comment that it would be safer to accept blood donations from sex workers than it would to accept them from gay men.

The SDLP Health Spokesman has said the comment was not only contrary to scientific evidence but risked “accusations of personal prejudice masquerading as prudent policy”.

He said: “His beliefs on homosexuality are well-known, but I would urge him not to let personal bigotries get in the way of good governance, particularly not at a time when blood stocks are depleted.”

Mr Durkan added: “That the Minister is not only prepared to continue to ignore this but also to imply that gay men habitually have less safe sexual partners than commercial sex workers is repellant, irresponsible and ill-informed. If the Minister is to be consistent in his beliefs, surely he should curb his willingness to import blood from Scotland, Wales and England, where gay people are now able to contribute to blood banks.”