A large majority of Irish people support the legalisation of assisted dying for those with a terminal illness.
According to a poll published in The Sunday Times, 68% backed giving those with a terminal illness the right to end their life, 20% were against, while 12% were undecided.
Support for assisted dying was highest among those aged under 35, of whom 79% supported the measure.
However, it was more than 20% lower among those aged over 55.
Support in Dáil Éireann
Last year People Before Profit TD Gino Kelly introduced a Dying with Dignity Bill. It won the support of TDs across the political spectrum but was binned after the Oireachtas Justice Committee decided the bill was poorly drafted.
The Committee Chair, James Lawless TD, said at the time that: "The somewhat reluctant view was even though the majority of us said we needed to look at how this could be advanced, this particular bill we don't feel is the right vehicle for it.”
Deputy Kelly has since redrafted the legislation and modelled it on an act passed in Queensland, Australia. Speaking to Newstalk, he detailed who would be eligible under the new bill:
“Those that have a terminal illness, it’s incurable, it’s progressive and will lead to their death.
“The timeframe for that would be somebody that has six months or less to live.
“And that would have to be scrutinised by a number of doctors for that person to qualify.
“And they would have to have complete capacity [to avail] of that decision.
“The majority of people who have a terminal illness would never want to avail of assisted dying. Never.
“But there is a small cohort of people that would at least have peace of mind that they could avail of it.”
Unlike abortion and marriage, assisted dying is not an issue mentioned in the Irish constitution. Meaning change could be brought about through legislation - rather than a referendum.
Main image: A doctor's stethoscope. Picture by: Monika Skolimowska/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa