The lifetime ban on gay men who want to give blood is lifted from today.
A man who last had sex with another man more than 12 months ago will now be able to donate blood if he meets the other blood donor selection criteria.
Health Minister Simon Harris announced that from today the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) have introduced the change to the blood donor deferral policy.
However, from today there are stricter rules in place for donors who have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease.
They cannot give a blood donation for five years after completing treatment for the infection.
Mr Harris said: “The IBTS provides a safe, reliable and robust blood service to the Irish health system and has the necessary programmes and procedures in place to protect both donors and recipients of blood and blood products."
"Furthermore, the IBTS will continue to keep all deferral policies under active review in the light of scientific evidence, emerging infections and international experience," he added.
The change to a one-year deferral for a man who had sex with men ( MSM) is supported by the most current scientific evidence available and brings Ireland into line with similar policies in the UK, Canada and elsewhere.
“Only 3pc of the eligible population of Ireland are active blood donors - yet 1 in 4 people will require a blood transfusion at some time in their lives.”