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Three Mitchelstown people will be travelling to Dublin on this Thursday morning to join RTE analyst and All Ireland winning footballer Joe Brolly, in lobbying for change to the current organ donation system at a meeting of the Oireachtas Health Committee.
Noreen O'Halloran-Hannon who received a kidney just five weeks ago, Annette Beston who is a living donor for her brother Michael and Michael Kiely who received the kidney from Annette are to give a presentation in the Oireachtas on two proposals that will radically change and improve the current system.
These are to have organ donation co-ordinators in every hospital and to have a national organ donor register.
They will be joined by members of The Irish Kidney Association, The Irish Heart and Lung Transplant Association and a senior transplant co-ordinator from Beaumont Hospital.
Explaining how this meeting came about, Noreen O'Halloran-Hannon said that they met with TD's and senators in Leinster House in February and following on from that have now been invited back to voice their concerns and speak about organ donation from their own personal experiences.
"I will have approximately 10 minutes to make our presentation and it is from that, and from the contributions from other invited guests, that we hope there will be an improvement to the current system. It is a total privilege to be part of such a hearing and possibly to contribute to a change for everyone waiting on any form of organ transplant," she said.
Later on Thursday, a briefing is scheduled for Leinster House, to which all TD's and Senators have received an invitation and Kildorrery man, John Hurley who is waiting on a kidney transplant, and Ballyporeen man Harry English who is waiting for a lung transplant, will also speak about their personal experiences of waiting for an organ.
Limerick Fine Gael TD, Patrick O'Donovan organised the briefing session in Leinster House on organ donation and it is being facilitated to coincide with the Health Committee hearings on Thursday on the personal and advocacy perspectives of organ donation.
"Organ donation quite simply saves lives. Despite the fact that we have a generous culture of donation here in Ireland, it is reported that organ donation last year was down 17% on the year before. This puts those who are waiting for organs in a much more precarious position and makes life for organisations such as the Irish Heart Foundation and the Irish Kidney Association more difficult," Deputy O'Donovan explained.
Noreen emphasised that a lot of people in the Mitchelstown and surrounding areas are waiting for organ transplants and she is hopeful that what happens today in Dublin could see a change in the current organ donation system.
"As a town, we can all be very proud of the part we have played in this," she said.
Recently, €4,900 was raised over Organ Donor Awareness Week through a coffee morning at The Clongibbon House in Mitchelstown and collections and they would like to thank John and Mary Hurley of Kildorrery who organised the coffee morning, Pat Tangney and his staff for facilitating it for the second year in a row, Mitchelstown Credit Union and Reidy's SuperValu and everyone who generously supported the event and gave up their time to volunteer as collectors.
If any businesses would like to have organ donor cards displayed on their premises, please contact Noreen on 087 8596298 or Michael on 086 2536395.
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