5 Jul 2017, 12.54

Committee to meet with Nobel Prize nominees on the issue of organ harvesting in China and, separately, MSF on the ongoing Mediterranean migrant crisis

The Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Defence will tomorrow conduct a two-part meeting with the following agenda:

Session A: 9:30 a.m. - Organ harvesting in China: Discussion with Mr. David Matas, Mr Ethan Gutmann, Dr Enver Tohti, Dr James McDaid, Dr Conall O’Seaghdha and Ms Dongxue Dai

Session B: 11:00 a.m. – Eyewitness update from MSF Search and Rescue Operations in the Central Mediterranean, with Sam Taylor, Director of MSF in Ireland and Dr Conor Kenny, recently returned MSF Ireland field worker.

The meeting will commence at 9.30am in Committee Room 1 tomorrow, Thursday, 6 July 2017.

Committee Chairman, Brendan Smith TD, said “It is an honour to welcome to our Committee meeting tomorrow two prominent human rights activists, Mr. David Matas and Mr. Ethan Gutmann. Both men have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for their work investigating the serious human rights issue of organ harvesting in China. This is a unique opportunity to meet with these preeminent professionals in the field and to highlight the shameful and barbaric reality of non-voluntary organ transplants. The Committee also looks forward to hearing testimony from three surgeons – Dr Enver Tohti who worked as a surgeon in China in the 1990s and two Irish surgeons who will update us on the concerns around so-called “transplant tourism” – a particular issue given the long waiting lists for transplants in Ireland.”   

“In Session B, Committee Members will hear from Irishman, Dr. Conor Kenny. Dr. Kenny has recently operated as Doctor on-board the Aquarius rescue ship, patrolling the treacherous, and now infamous, refugee route between Libya and Italy. Reports are still reaching us at an alarming rate that people are dying in the Mediterranean on a weekly basis in an effort to flee war-torn areas and reach mainland Europe. The Committee engages regularly with MSF and has been struck at the dedication and selflessness of their staff and volunteers – we are pleased to offer them an important parliamentary forum to bring greater attention to the harrowing situation of so many migrants risking their lives to reach Europe’s shores. Ireland and the EU must do more to address this crisis.”  

Committee proceedings can be viewed live here.

Committee proceedings can also be viewed on the move, through the Houses of the Oireachtas Smartphone App, available for Apple and Android devices.


Ivana Bacik (Labour)
Mark Daly (Fianna Fáil)
Billy Lawless (Independent Group)
Gabrielle McFadden (Fine Gael)

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