Forum 2009

The Forum on End of Life in Ireland was launched formally by President Mary McAleese in Kilmainham Castle on March 11, 2009. (Download)

Forum 2009 Chairperson Marian Finucane, RTE

Forum 2009 Marian Finucane

Dr Maurice Manning, President of the Irish Human Rights Commission addresses Forum 2009

Actor Denis Conway read the Dylan Thomas Poem “Death shall have no dominion”

Forum 2009 Denis Conway

The President of Ireland, Mary McAleese plants an olive tree donated by Bill Shipsey

Forum 2009 President Plants Olive Tree

SHADES choir group from Yale University, United States performs an A Capella piece for attendees at Forum 2009.

Afternoon workshops take place including this one by Macartan Hughes, Director of the Ambulance College

Forum 2009 Workshop

In the months following Forum 2009 the National Council of the Forum of End of Life engaged with the public on end-of-life issues to find what people in Ireland believed about dying, death and bereavement.

The following are quotes taken from “Perspectives on End of Life: Report of the Forum 2009.”  The quotes that appear in the report are excerpts from written submissions, statements made at our workshops or public meetings and from presentations made at workshops by various organisations to the Forum on End of Life in Ireland.

“Life and death are a natural progression. We assist individuals to come into the world and we need to take a much more serious look as to how we conduct ourselves and services when individuals are leaving the world.”

“Suicide prevention is about tackling the root causes of suicide: mental illness, alcohol abuse, educational disadvantage to name but a few.  It’s also about making health professionals more adept at spotting signs of suicidal intent.  It is about removing the stigma – it is in other words, a complex task.” 

“Bereavement may start long before the time of death and support may be needed from the time of diagnosis … Although not all families will require professional support, the death of a child is a rare experience and therefore few families will have experienced this form of grief and may not have support to draw on from within the community.  In the needs assessment parents spoke of the wish to make contact with other parents in the same situation.” 

“Unless you’ve been through it (the loss of a grandchild), you can’t realise, that it would be as easy for me to lose my son, as lose my grandson, there is no difference … to me a grandchild and your own child there is no difference – where do you draw the line?”

“In Ireland today, more and more children and young people are experiencing traumatic grief and loss particularly associated with murder and suicide.  It is our strong experience on the ground that there is definitely not sufficient professional services to meet these needs around the country.  These losses are beyond the remit of Rainbows and it is a constant struggle to locate suitable professional services for such traumatic losses.”

“While there are practical and legal mechanisms that employers can implement in order to manage terminal illness or bereavement in the workplace, often it is the softer issues around communication and accommodations that make the most difference to the experience from an employee perspective.”

“It needs to be recognised that the person with Alzheimer’s has the same end stage needs as the terminally ill patient with cancer.  Therefore the same approach to treatment and care is needed.”

“One speaker who lost her mother six months ago described caring for her at home for 10 years with the assistance of her two sisters … She felt a lot of the supports on offer centred around cancer.  When she went looking to see what help she might receive she was told it was nearly unfortunate that her mother didn’t have cancer.” 

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