An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, TD., says issues relating to dying, death and loss continue to challenge us as he launches The Irish Hospice Foundation’s (IHF) 2016 commemorative programme and 30th anniversary celebrations (December 3rd).
Members of the public are asked to engage with the IHFs year-long public engagement campaign on the difficult subjects of dying, death and bereavement which will form the basis for a Charter for End of Life.
In leading the national conversation the IHF plans to host a number of activities throughout 2016, including death cafés where members of the public eat cake and discuss their thoughts on death and dying.
Speaking at the launch, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who commissioned Senator Marie Louise O’Donnell to undertake a study on how Government Departments deal with death and bereavement said, “It is clear that despite the universal certainty of death and loss, the issues they present continue to challenge us – as individuals, as family members, as friends, as colleagues, as service providers, as policy makers and as legislators.”
Findings from the study will be launched later today – including recommendations on how Government Departments can improve their own response to dying, death and bereavement amongst their own workforce.
Data from 1916 and contemporary society show that in the year of the Easter Rising 71,391 people died compared to 29,092 people almost one hundred years on (2014 CSO figures). Child and premature mortality rates have dropped dramatically from 11,873 child deaths in 1916 to 287 in 2014. People are living longer, and due to the evolution of the modern hospice movement and the intervention of palliative care more people are dying with dignity and in comfort.
An Taoiseach commented, “It’s 100 years and no time at all in the history of a country since 1916. It is said that we live not just our own life but also the life of our times and I know that with The Irish Hospice Foundation’s 2016 campaign more of us will live and die with the kind of care, the quality of experience befitting our dignity, our humanity and our intrinsic value on this earth.”
CEO of the IHF, Sharon Foley said, “In recent years due to welcome advances in medical treatment and care options we have begun to think about dying, death and bereavement as someone else’s responsibility – something for healthcare professionals to fix or manage. It is not the sole responsibility of the Department of Health, the HSE or any one service. We are all responsible.”
“Our campaign to open up conversations on end of life and respond to these vital concerns will help everyone play their part in ensuring that the experience of dying, death and bereavement in Ireland is as we would wish it to be for ourselves and for those we love.”
She continued, “As part of our 2016 commemorative programme we are accepting the Government’s invitation to ‘Remember, Reflect and Reimagine’ how the ideals of the Proclamation of the republic can be best met in modern society. We believe a better future can be imagined and made a reality – a future in which everyone can access the best care at end of life – be it medical, social, physical or spiritual support.”
An Taoiseach added, “I commend The Irish Hospice Foundation for taking up this challenge – one which promises to engage the public on a topic common to us all – the challenges of living with, after and through dying, death and bereavement.”
“Speaking on behalf of Arthur Cox, Founding Partner of the campaign, Brian O’Gorman, Managing Partner said: “We are delighted to be a founding partner of The Irish Hospice Foundation’s A Way to Go Centenary Campaign. Dr Mary Redmond, our esteemed colleague, who died earlier this year, was the founder of The Irish Hospice Foundation. Arthur Cox looks forward to supporting the campaign in its work to make a real difference to the lives and deaths of thousands of people in Ireland.”
Johnny Shine, Networks Managing Director open eir said: “The Irish Hospice Foundation delivers vital support for the people who rely on their services and for the families whose lives are forever changed by the death of a loved one. This is a charity that has touched many of our employees and we are privileged to support the Foundation as they mark 30 years of service to Ireland. We wish them every success for their Centenary campaign throughout 2016.”
Shaun Murphy, Managing Partner with KPMG in Ireland, corporate sponsors of the campaign, said, “KPMG is proud to support the great work of The Irish Hospice Foundation. End of life issues confront families in Ireland in various ways and we hope that our involvement will help people get as much support as possible when they need it most.”