A leading campaigner has warned that “absolutely nothing” has changed in Ireland since his partner lost her battle for the right to die.
Marie Fleming took a landmark legal case in 2013 arguing that, as a sufferer of Multiple Sclerosis (MS), she had a constitutional right to receive assistance to die.
Her case was dismissed by both the High Court and the Supreme Court and she died in December 2013.
Tom Curran, her partner of 25 years, has been an active campaigner for the right to die and the use of medical marijuana in Ireland ever since.
On Lunchtime Live this afternoon he told Andrea Gilligan that he was “quite shocked” when Marie first brought up the idea.
“It just wasn’t something that had crossed my path before,” he said. “But then, as I thought about it and also realising how much I loved Marie and the intelligent person she was, it just seemed perfectly rational, it seemed perfectly logical and why not?
“Now, I didn’t want Marie to die. None of us want someone we love to die. I wanted her to be around for the rest of my life and we wanted to share it together but if that was her wish then who am I to say no? Isn’t that what love is about?”
Right to die
Mr Curran was speaking after former Government minister John Halligan said he would be willing to go to jail to help someone exercise their right to die.
Mr Halligan introduced the Dying with Dignity Bill in 2015 however, it was never passed by the Oireachtas.
He told WLR that the legislation could be introduced in a manner that protects vulnerable people.
He said anyone seeking assistance with death would have to be certified as terminal by their doctor and two oncologists before seeing a psychologist.
“A psychologist would be needed to say that this man or this woman is fit and healthy and mentally capable of making up their own mind,” he said.
“Now the question I would ask is, if you are that person what right has anybody to stop you from making that decision?
“You are making that decision with your mind, with your body. Who has the right to say you can’t do it?”
Mr Curran said Solidarity-People Before Profit TD Gina Kenny is due to resurrect the Dying with Dignity Bill “with a few modifications” later this month.
He said it all boils down to a question of choice.
“We are all going to die – that is something that is inevitable,” he said.
“But should we have the right to decide we don’t want a bad death? That is really what it boils down to; it is a matter of personal choice.
“And just because something is available does not make it compulsory. So, if people believe this is not for them or if their morals don’t agree with the concept, they don’t have to avail of it.”
You can listen back to the his interview with Andrea Gilligan here: