21.04.2023 – First meeting of the Assisted Dying Special Committee

21.04.2023 – First meeting of the Assisted Dying Special Committee

A private meeting of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Assisted Dying was held on the evening of Tuesday 18th April. The Committee is tasked with reviewing the issues of euthanasia and assisted dying, prompted by the private members bill introduced by People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny in 2020.

It was reported in RTÉ that independent Senator Rónán Mullen drew attention to the terms of reference of the committee, suggesting its wording should be clarified to explicitly state that it is open to the Committee to recommend no change to the existing law.

The Committee also discussed whether its title should in fact be altered to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Assisted Suicide.

It is understood that the majority of medical professionals and stakeholders are opposed to the legalisation of euthanasia, with thousands of medical professionals signing a statement of opposition to the 2020 private member’s bill.

The international trend clearly points towards the legalisation of euthanasia being followed by an explosion in the numbers availing of the “service”. Canada introduced euthanasia and assisted suicide in 2016, with 1,018 people in the first year being euthanised. By 2021, this figure had jumped to 10,064 cases of euthanised Canadians. This alarming 889% increase demonstrates how once euthanasia is legalised, it cheapens human life and leads to spiralling numbers of people considering suicide who would not otherwise do so.

It is hoped the Special Committee will listen carefully to the testimony of doctors, particularly those involved in palliative care, and not follow the same dangerous path as Canada and other countries.