Ireland’s Catholic Bishops have emphasised the importance of honouring all life from beginning to end.

On the 16th of June, the Catholic Church in Ireland and Great Britain held their ‘Day for Life’, with a theme this year entitled ‘Compassion and Hope at the End of Life’.

Bishop Kevin Doran is Bishop of Elphin and chairman of the Council for Life of the Irish Bishops’ Conference, he spoke about the importance of this topic, saying: ‘Far from abandoning people who are living with terminal illness, we need to surround them with the kind of love that enables them to live life as fully and as richly as possible for the time that is left to them. This can be a time of growth and integration, both for the one who is sick and for those who gather around him or her’.

In March of this year, the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Assisted Dying published its final report after meeting since last summer.

Despite repeated warnings from health professionals, particularly those working in palliative care, the committee report ultimately recommended that the government proceed with the legalisation of Euthanasia/Assisted Suicide.

A minority report was published by three committee members including Senator Ronán Mullen, Robert Troy TD and Committee Chair Michael Healy Rae TD. Their minority report expressed disagreement with the main committee’s report and was, in their view, more reflective of the evidence presented by professionals from Ireland and abroad during the months of hearings.

Gino Kenny had recently said that he had prepared a new bill in order to make this a reality, but it is hard to see this coming to pass in the life of this government with a General Election very imminent.

In Canada, Euthanasia/Assisted Suicide now comprises over 13,000 deaths per year, or 5% of all deaths. Some of the stories of those who have been Euthanised are truly harrowing. There are many who have sought treatment for cancer, only to be told that the cost and wait time and recommended Euthanasia/Assisted Suicide instead. There are cases where people presenting with suicidal ideation have been asked if they considered Euthanasia/Assisted Suicide. Others have sought help with getting a ramp in their house for a wheelchair, only to be recommended Euthanasia/Assisted Suicide.

There are currently plans to introduce the option now for those who do not have a physical illness nor any pretence of foreseeable death.

These horror stories should inform any voters in the run up to any General Election. When Euthanasia/Assisted Suicide is legalised, the right to die very quickly becomes the duty to die.

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