Ahead of the Justice Committee meeting this week to consider the Dying in Dignity Bill, Deputy Gino Kenny repeated his view that the Oireachtas Justice Committee should continue its examination and allow further consultation and scrutiny of the Bill.
The Bill passed second stage last October in the Dáil and was referred to the committee to undertake detailed scrutiny. To date the committee has heard from the OPLA (Office of Parliamentary Legal Advisers) in private session and has conducted a public submission process that received over 1400 submissions.
However, Deputy Kenny expressed concern following a private session of the committee that it may seek to block further work on proposal or seek a separate special committee or even refer it to the Citizens’ Assembly.
Deputy Kenny said: “I would urge the committee to start the process of detailed scrutiny of the Bill. This should cover areas of policy, as well as legal and financial implications. In effect we have to date had a private session only on the legal area from the OPLA.
“The policy area should be conducted by the Justice Committee where it could hear from experts in the field and opposing views. Any other course of action is a prevarication of not only the Bill, which is before the committee, but the issue itself.
“I believe any of the “deficiencies” which the OPLA observed in regard to their analysis of the Bill can be overcome. The Bill wasn’t deemed unconstitutional or indeed unamendable so I would argue it can proceed for further scrutiny by the committee.
“Failure by the Justice Committee to at least uphold the process of robust scrutiny of the Bill and the issue is a failure of not only the vote in October but an abject dereliction of the issue of voluntary assisted dying.”