Elderly people risk being put “under pressure” to end their own lives if the law is changed to allow assisted suicide, Ireland’s Taoiseach has said.
During an interview, Micheál Martin expressed his concerns about Gino Kenny TD’s Bill, which seeks to liberalise the law on euthanasia and assisted suicide in the Republic.
A Special Oireachtas Committee is set to discuss the legal and ethical issues as well as the practicalities of legalising assisted suicide in the New Year.
Martin said he had concerns that legislation will create “pressure on older people”, particularly “people who are coming to the end of their lives”.
He noted that improvements in palliative care over the past two decades had made the end of life more comfortable for both patients and their families.
And the Taoiseach warned that the implications of removing safeguards could be felt “far and wide”.
Axe the Bill
Last year, representatives of the Church of Ireland, the Presbyterian Church and the Roman Catholic Church demanded that Kenny’s Private Member’s Bill be abandoned.
They warned the Oireachtas Committee on Justice: “The true measure of any society is how it treats its most vulnerable and the Bill would increase, not lessen, their vulnerability. On that ground alone, the Bill should not proceed.”