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FF ‘would not oppose’ referral of assisted dying to Citizens’ Assembly

Fianna Fáil “would not oppose” the referral of assisted dying to a Citizens’ Assembly for further discussion, a spokesperson has told the Medical Independent.

However, a Fine Gael spokesperson did not provide its position on a recommendation by the Joint Committee on Justice and Equality, which urged the Oireachtas to “consider” referring the issue to the Citizens’ Assembly. The recommendation was made in the Committee’s Report on the Right to Die With Dignity, published in June 2018.

Fine Gael’s spokesperson described “assisted suicide as a very complex issue”.

They added: “The competing interests of the individual would have to be balanced with the wider public interest in safeguarding persons who are nearing the end of their lives and who might be vulnerable and at risk of abuse. As such, the Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan has no plans to review the existing legislation.”

According to Fianna Fáil, it “would not oppose” the referral of assisted dying to a Citizens’ Assembly for further discussion.

“This is a long-standing issue and an informed discussion of the issues surrounding it is of merit.”

They added that it was “vital” any further debate on the issue was respectful and informed and “previous Citizens’ Assemblies have achieved this”.

Recently, the Royal College of Physicians, UK, adopted a neutral position to any potential law change on assisted dying following consultation with members and fellows.

It defined ‘assisted dying’ as the supply by a doctor of a lethal dose of drugs to a terminally-ill patient, who met certain legal criteria and who may use the drugs to end their own life.

Last month, the Royal College of General Practitioners announced it would consult members on assisted dying.

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