The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) and the National Council of the Forum on End of Life in Ireland welcome the enactment of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill (Thursday, December 17th), hailing it as a ground-breaking and empowering piece of legislation.
Sharon Foley, CEO of The Irish Hospice Foundation said, “Replacing the Lunacy Act of 1871, the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015 will respect the rights of all individuals and will be particularly relevant for people previously excluded from making decisions on their own behalf.
“Advance healthcare directives enable Irish people to express preferences and plan for their future care in the event that they may be unable to speak for themselves. The legislation will protect the right to inherent dignity, right to privacy, bodily integrity, self-determination and autonomy. It will ensure that all people are treated on an equal basis and these rights are respected.”
Patricia Rickard-Clarke, former Law Reform Commissioner and a member of the National Council of the Forum on End of Life in Ireland, said that legislation for advance directives was a recommendation of the year-long public consultation carried out by the Forum in 2009-2010. The Law Reform Commission also called for this legislation back in 2008.
Welcoming the news, she commented, “This act provides a legislative policy framework which supports our work to enable people think about what they want for themselves at end of life – primarily through the Think Ahead programme (www.thinkahead.ie).”
Both the IHF and the National Council commend the Government for making this piece of legislation a priority, and Minister Kathleen Lynch for her leadership and determination in driving it forward.