Bill seeks to allow for a dignified and peaceful end of life with medical and regulatory oversight
At a media conference today outside Leinster House, People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny was joined by Vicky Phelan, Tom Curran and Gail O’Rorke in launching the Dying with Dignity Bill 2020.
The Dying with Dignity Bill 2020 would make provision for the assistance in achieving a dignified and peaceful end of life in a qualifying person and to provide for other related matters. The rationale behind the Bill is to give to a person the legal and medical right of the authorisation of voluntary assisted dying where that person is suffering from a terminal illness. If this Bill is enacted this would give a medical practitioner the legal right to provide assistance to a qualifying person to end his or her own life in accordance with the terms set out in the Act.
Vicky Phelan said: “I am supporting the Dying with Dignity Bill that Gino Kenny TD is introducing to the Dáil next week because I believe the time is right to have a debate on the issue of dying with dignity. We voted overwhelmingly in 2018 in favour of repealing the 8th amendment to remove the constitutional ban on abortion. I am hoping that the people of Ireland, and the 160 TDs who serve us, will support this Bill and allow terminally ill people to end their life peacefully when the time comes. For those people who are opposed to assisted dying, I would ask them to put themselves in my shoes, and imagine what it is like to be me, for even one minute and how frightening it is to know that I will most likely die in pain. All I am asking is to be allowed to go gently, when my pain starts to become unmanageable. I do not want to die but I am going to die. Allow me to die with dignity, for my sake and for my young children’s sake.”
Tom Curran said: “Here in Ireland we pride ourselves on our freedom to control our own lives but, if we care about the way we live, we must also care about the way we die. In our compassionate Ireland we still insist that some people, often against their express wishes, have a prolonged and sometimes painful end of life. The Right to Die on our own terms is possibly the last civil and human right to be given the consideration it deserves here in Ireland. Even the Supreme Court of Ireland agreed that if it was in their power to grant this right to Marie they would but if this is a right that should have been available to one person then it should be available to every other person who finds themselves in similar circumstances.” Gail O’Rorke said: “This is about choice and a societal issue that needs to be discussed openly and honestly. I know if Bernadette was with us today, she would be willing us on to change the law.”
Speaking on the bill, which he will move tomorrow in the Dáil, Gino Kenny TD said: “Today is about starting a discussion on the merits of this legislation. I appeal to my fellow TD’s to support the progress of this bill when it’s due for debate later this year. I’m calling on party leaders to allow a free vote /vote of conscience, if there isn’t a clear party position to progress the bill. Assisted dying is not about ending life it’s about ending suffering when you no longer have the option of living.”