It has been reported that the Oireachtas Committee on Assisted Dying, chaired by pro-life TD from Kerry Michael Healy-Rae, will be established on 19 April after the Oireachtas returns from its Easter Break.
Although it was reported in January that this committee was being established with Deputy Healy-Rae as chairperson, there was a delay in the announcement of nominated committee members. It has since been announced that five senators will participate in the committee: independents Rónán Mullen and Lynn Ruane, Labour’s Annie Hoey; Fianna Fáil’s Fiona O’Loughlin; and Fine Gael’s Mary Seery Kearney.
Government TDs include Patrick Costello of the Green Party; Alan Farrell and Emer Higgins of Fine Gael; and John Lahart and Robert Troy of Fianna Fáil.
The Opposition deputies are Sinn Féin’s Sorca Clarke and Pa Daly, along with Gino Kenny of People Before Profit.
The committee will be important to examine issues related to euthanasia and assisted suicide, contentious topics which some radical politicians have sought to shoehorn into Irish political discourse. In addition to the chairman, the presence of pro-life senator Rónán Mullen is to be welcomed.
Senator Mullen already drew attention to the leading language contained in the official description of the main task of the committee, that it would “consider and recommend for policy change and/or legislative change” regarding euthanasia. He rightly pointed out this would appear to be preclude the possibility that the Joint Committee could recommend against any legislative and/or policy change in this area.