Mixed views from Cork TDs on Dying With Dignity Bill

Mixed views from Cork TDs on Dying With Dignity Bill

Tom Curran  during the launch of Dying with Dignity Bill 2020 a Bill that seeks to allow for a dignified and peaceful end of life with medical and regulatory oversight at Leinster House, Dublin.

WEST Cork Independent TD Michael Collins will strongly oppose the Dying with Dignity Bill being brought before the Dail today.

Right to die campaigner and partner of the late Marie Fleming, Tom Curran, had worked on the bill with former junior minister John Halligan in 2015.

However, the bill lapsed because of a change in government and is now being revisited by Solidarity-People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny.

Marie Fleming died in 2013‘— just eight months after the Supreme Court rejected her bid to end her life with the help of her partner. She had sought to establish a constitutional right to die.

The 59-year-old had suffered from multiple sclerosis for more than two decades.

Suicide was decriminalised in 1993. However, anyone who helps a person to take their own life can be jailed for up to 14 years.

Now, the bill aims to make assisted suicide legal in Ireland.

Mr Collins, of the Cork South West constituency, told The Echo: “We have had the end of life with the unborn, and now we will have the end of life of the elderly. That law could be abused. I have respect for Gino Kenny but I will not be supporting it. Under no circumstances.”

Social Democrats TD Holly Cairns said she supports the premise of the bill, adding: “I think people have a right to die with dignity.

“I know there are grey areas and it is a very emotive issue.”

Solidarity TD Mick Barry will support his colleague Deputy Kenny, and said: “The Dignity in Dying Bill, if passed, will give people who face the difficult and traumatic diagnosis of an incurable, progressive and untreatable illness, choices around how they live their final days.

“There are unfortunately too many tragic cases that have seen the criminalisation of the families of the terminally ill who have assisted their loved ones to end their lives. This bill will give a long overdue proper framework and protections for the dying person, their families, and medical professionals. I call on the government not to block this bill and to engage in a real discussion on how we can allow all people die in dignity.”

Fine Gael Cork North Central TD Colm Burke said it is time to “tease out the issues” around the area of the right to die. He said the Fine Gael party has not been given any direction as yet on the bill.

Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire of Cork South Central said: “We are in discussions on that. It’s a very profound question for public policy. And we will study it and we will respond. We will treat this with the sensitivity that it deserves.”

However, it is understood that many of the party’s TDs are in favour of the bill.

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