Father of Dáithí Mac Gabhann, who inspired change in transplant laws, recognised in King's Birthday Honours List

Father of Dáithí Mac Gabhann, who inspired change in transplant laws, recognised in King's Birthday Honours List

THE FATHER of Dáithí Mac Gabhann, the young boy who successfully fronted a campaign to change Northern Ireland's transplant laws, has been awarded an MBE.

Máirtín Mac Gabhann was recognised in the King's Birthday Honours List for services to organ donation in Northern Ireland.

He said that he hoped accepting the award would increase awareness about the need for organ donation.

Seven-year-old Dáithí, who born with hypoplastic left Heart Syndrome, has been awaiting a heart transplant since January 2018.

Through the Donate4Dáithí campaign, he and his family campaigned to change the law around organ donation in Northern Ireland to an opt-out system.

Named in his honour, Dáithí's Law came into effect on June 1, 2023, with the last 12 months seeing an increase in organ donations in Northern Ireland to 64, up from 59 for 2022/23.

'A cause that transcends politics'

Mr Mac Gabhann said accepting the MBE was not an easy decision to make but that Dáithi's campaign is 'much greater than any political stance'.

"It is an honour for the campaign to receive an MBE for Services to Organ Donation, acknowledging the impact of Donate4Dáithí and the legislative success of Dáithí's Law," he said.

"This award reflects the positive change we have facilitated in society, promoting the importance of organ donation and saving lives.

"While we are honoured by this recognition, I must acknowledge that accepting this award was not an easy decision for me due to my personal politics and opinions.

"Throughout the campaign, I have been careful to separate any personal politics from our mission.

"Dáithí's campaign has always been about something much greater than any political stance; it is about the urgent need for organ donation, a cause that transcends politics.

"Accepting this award is an opportunity to bring further attention to organ donation, raise awareness, and inspire more people to consider becoming donors.

"My ultimate goal has always been to advance this cause and save lives, including Dáithí's. I believe that this recognition will contribute to those efforts, providing a platform to highlight the importance of organ donation even more.

"It is my hope that the increased visibility and awareness will lead to more donors and ultimately save more lives.

"This award is not just a personal accolade but a testament to the power of collective action and the profound impact we can have when we unite for a common cause."