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IHF welcomes Special Oireachtas Committee to examine the issue of assisted dying

IHF Statement

Friday 19th November 2021  

Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) welcomes the announcement that a Special Oireachtas Committee will be established in early 2022 to examine the issue of assisted dying.  The formation of the Special Committee was recommended earlier this year by the Oireachtas Justice Committee.  In July the Justice Committee found that Dying with Dignity Bill had “serious technical issues” and warranted more detailed examination.  The Committee chair James Lawless also said at the time that the gravity of the topic would benefit from more thorough consideration.  

It is understood that the Special Committee may begin to look at the issue as early as January 2022, and that it will do so for nine months. 

Sharon Foley CEO of Irish Hospice Foundation says: We welcome and call for the opportunity to inform and contribute to this important debate on assisted dying through the Special Committee that has been announced. In our submission in January this year to the Justice Committee on the Dying with Dignity Bill, we called for the absolute necessity of public debate on the issue of assisted dying. We continue to hold this position. This informed, inclusive and robust debate has not yet happened in Ireland and this Committee provides a key opportunity to facilitate this”.  

Assisted dying is an issue that many countries have and are actively considering legislating for. Ireland must ensure that it tackles the issue with the level of rigour it deserves. There is a recognised public appetite to discuss, debate and clarify the highly emotive and complex issues related to assisted dying.  

Any future consideration of legislation in this regard must be underpinned by an investigation into the provision and resourcing of end-of-life care in Ireland overall, inclusive of all key stakeholders. IHF will continue to advocate for excellent hospice and palliative care for those facing end of life to ensure that every person’s physical, psychological, practical and spiritual needs are comprehensively and compassionately met throughout Ireland. 

Read our full submission on Dying with Dignity Bill