The High Court in Belfast has again ruled against the lifetime blood ban imposed on gay and bisexual men by the Department of Health, not least on the grounds that it was irrational. The High Court found that:
The minister has decided that MSM (males who have sex with other males) behaviour creates such a high risk of infection to the donor that such donors must be permanently deferred with the result that such blood cannot enter the Northern Ireland blood stock. Importing blood from other places which do accept MSM donors, even in limited quantities, leaves the door open for MSM blood to do just that. There is clearly a defect in reason here.
According to the BBC, the High Court went further:
Dealing with the alleged breach of the ministerial code, the judge said the lifetime ban was both controversial and cross-cutting, taking in equality issues.
“As such the minister had no authority to act without bringing them to the attention of the Executive Committee which he failed to do.
“In doing so the minister breached the ministerial code and… had no legal authority to take a decision in breach of the ministerial code.”