In 2020, the Dáil voted 81 to 71 to progress towards legislation for Assisted Dying.
A Times poll in 2021 showed 71% of the Irish population wanted to see legislation for assisted dying.
In July 2021, the Justice Committee determined an all party, time bound Oireachtas Special Committee on Assisted Dying be set up.
Only dying people who can afford it are going to Switzerland to die, often sooner than they want or need to while they’re still physically able to. Anyone found to have helped someone with their arrangements risks a jail sentence of up to 14 years.
No-one should have to travel abroad to die with dignity.
None should have to endure unnecessarily prolonged suffering.
This is neither fair or acceptable to the citizens of Ireland
Most people want to die at home. Those living with a terminal or incurable, progressive condition deserve the right to determine for themselves when they can endure no more suffering and have a choice in where and how they die.
With a medically assisted death, people would have a legal, safe and valid end of life option.
A growing group of doctors have made their submission to the Dail.
Whilst a Special Oireachtas Committee has been promised on assisted dying, it needs to be urgently convened.
The set up of this Special Committee must not be delayed.
Dr Brendan O’Shea delivered a talk ‘Whose Death is it anyway? How we Die matters’ at TEDxDunLaoghaire in December 2021.
Brendan advocated that patients should have ownership of their death and explores Medical Assistance in Dying as a choice for people at end of life.
He articulates how we die is an integral part of a good life. Watch that video here
In Ireland, under Section 2 of the Criminal Law (Suicide) Act 1993, anyone who ‘aids, abets, counsels or procures the suicide of another [person]’ can be convicted and imprisoned for up to 14 years.
The Dying with Dignity Bill brought the conversation on Assisted Dying to national attention in 2020.
Several high-profile cases have highlighted the lack of access to MAiD in Ireland.
The Irish Doctors Supporting Medically Assisted Dying submitted a detailed Position Paper to the Oireachtas Commitee when it considered the Dying with Dignity Bill.
You can read that Position Paper Here.
An Advance Healthcare Directive (AHD) is a statement made by a competent adult relating to the type and extent of medical treatments they wish to receive. It is a way of formally making known to others what your wishes are for end-of-life care. You can download a copy of an AHD here. It’s a seven-page document that you fill in to fit with your beliefs and wishes.
Sadly, assisting someone to access Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) at end their life is punishable by up to 14 years imprisonment. It follows that that no-one can ask for an assisted death because it might put someone in danger of prosecution. The Dying With Dignity Bill, if passed, will remove that criminal offence and permit doctors to provide a Voluntary Assisted Dying service in very restricted circumstances.
Please do read our series of blog posts outlining how to prepare for end of life, which includes directions on how to complete your Advance Healthcare Directive.