The TD behind the reintroduced Dying with Dignity Bill has said the right to die is about “empathy, compassion and humanity.”
The bill was originally introduced by former Government minister John Halligan; however, it was never passed by the Oireachtas.
Solidarity/People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny will reintroduce the legislation in the Dáil tomorrow. He launched the bill this morning alongside CervicalCheck campaigner Vicky Phelan and right to die campaigner Tom Curran.
On The Hard Shoulder this evening, he debated the plan with the Iona Institute’s David Quinn.
“I think it is long overdue and I think it will give those who are in these extremely difficult circumstances a choice,” he said.
“A choice when their condition is progressive, unbearable and painful. A choice where they are coming to end of their life.
“They should have a choice of ending their life peacefully. That should be done medically and legally and in order to do that, the law has to change.”
Today I launched the Dying with Dignity Bill. Thanks to @PhelanVicky, Gail O’Rorke and Tom Curran for attending the press conference today outside Leinster House. I will give it my all over the next few months to progress this legislation.. pic.twitter.com/s7p9ZUuWDE
— Gino Kenny TD (@Ginosocialist) September 14, 2020
Mr Quinn said there are “big problems” with the bill – and said there is no set time limit for how close somebody should be too death and an “extremely broad” definition of what a terminal illness is.
He suggested the majority of palliative care doctors are “almost invariably” against the plan in principle.
“We have to bear in mind palliative care doctors professionally deal with people coming to the end of their life all the time,” he said. “That is what they do.
“They deal with people who might have terminal cancer or whatever terminal disease they may have.
“These are people that every day are confronted with such people and I presume all these medical practitioners are compassionate people and are motivated by compassion in their treatment.”
He said palliative care doctors are worried about the signal the legislation will send out to terminal patients.
“A person diagnosed with Parkinson’s or MS or Motor Neurone Disease would basically be being told that, we the State and the medical profession understand it if you are now contemplating ending your life,” he said.
“You can go to your doctor and get a lethal substance from a doctor who should only ever be giving medicine to people not something that is going to kill you.”
— People Before Profit (@pb4p) September 14, 2020
Deputy Kenny said the legislation would only come into force where people are terminally ill and in real pain that can’t be alleviated through medicine.
“In that situation, I fundamentally believe that people should have a choice to end their life medically and legally on their own terms,” he said.
“This is more to do with living than dying.
“These are very difficult circumstances people find themselves in. It comes down to empathy, compassion and humanity for that particular situation, where somebody is facing a very painful end to their life.
“In that situation, I think somebody should have the choice to end their life.”
You can listen back here: