In 2015, John Halligan (TD) presented the Dying with Dignity Private Members Bill, 2015. This Bill never progressed due to a change of government.
In October 2020, Gino Kenny (TD) presented the Dying with Dignity Private Members Bill, 2020. This Bill provided for the option of Voluntary Assisted Dying at end of life for those suffering with terminal illnesses (only), defined as
a) ‘a person diagnosed by a registered medical practitioner as having an incurable and progressive illness which cannot be reversed by treatment, and the person is likely to die as a result of that illness or complications relating thereto (“a terminal illness”) and,
b) treatment which only relieves the symptoms of an inevitably progressive condition temporarily is not to be regarded for the purposes of paragraph a) (above) as treatment which can reverse that condition.
The Bill received wide-spread public support however, the Justice Committee charged with assessing the Bill chose not to proceed with the Dying with Dignity Bill (2020).
In July 2021, the Justice Committee determined that a Special Committee was the most appropriate route to progress legislation for Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD). The Committee will be comprised of up of 12 TD’s proportionately represented by each of the parties.
It was almost two years before the FG/FF/Green government created the Special Committee.
In April 2023, it was announced a Special Committee was being established. This is an all party, time bound committee, who have 9 months to complete the initial body of work beginning on the date of the first public meeting, scheduled for June 13th 2023, meaning the final report of the committee must be completed, with recommendations by March 13th 2024.
It is critical that the committee completes it’s work within the lifetime of this government.
If you support Voluntary Assisted Dying please consider signing our petition. The petition (as it stood) was presented to Ivana Bacik, Labour Leader in October 2022 at a public gathering we organised to mark World Right to Die Day outside the Dail. The petition is still open and we ask supporters to continue sharing this Uplift Petition.
End of Life Ireland (EOLI) made a submission to the Justice Committee reviewing the Dying with Dignity Bill 2020. Throughout the submission we have emphasised our core values of choice and compassion.
By choice, we mean people suffering from a terminal illness (only) as defined in the 2020 Dying with Dignity Bill who wish to end their lives have that choice. By compassion we mean it is a desirable goal to reduce suffering in our society. Compassion will ensure no-one will suffer a prolonged painful death against their wishes.
The submission is based upon our research of the practice around Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD, our preferred term) in countries such as Holland, some Australian states and Canada. Based on international research, we argued that there is no evidence that ‘vulnerable groups’, such as the very elderly, or those with intellectual or physical impairments are adversely affected by the availability of VAD. No such legislation has ever been repealed, reflecting the high levels of acceptance in societies where it is available. We argued that international experience shows that safeguards work.
Irish Doctors supporting Medical Assistance in Dying (IDsMAiD) is a group of medical doctors, with a strong belief in individual patient autonomy, who support choices for people at the end of their lives. www.maid.ie
“We believe that a person approaching the end of their life, should be provided with accessible, high-quality and evidence-based care to minimise suffering and support their wishes. Every citizen should be able to access their choice of medical care, including palliative care and Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD). Their individual choices should be discussed, encouraged and promoted. Any genuine choice by a patient, including MAiD, should be respected and supported.”
Irish Doctors supporting MAiD submission to the Oireachtas Justice Committee in consideration of the Dying with Dignity Bill
Dignity in Dying (UK) is a not-for-profit membership organisation based in the United Kingdom and is the leading campaign group for the legalisation of assisted dying throughout the UK. Their membership is drawn from across the UK and includes over 3,000 supporters in Northern Ireland. As the Dying with Dignity Bill would, if enacted in its current form, permit terminally ill, mentally competent residents of the island of Ireland to access assisted dying, they lend their support to the Bill on behalf of their members in Northern Ireland.
Supporting residents on the island of Ireland, Dignity in Dying (U.K.) have also made a submission to the Oireachtas Justice Committee.