Peer backs Church of Ireland’s anti-assisted suicide stance

A DUP Peer has backed the leader of the Church of Ireland’s stance against assisted suicide.

Lord Morrow praised the Archbishop of Armagh, Richard Clarke, for speaking “so clearly” on the issue in a piece for the Belfast News Letter.

Archbishop Clarke, whose wife died from cancer, said that if life is “simply a personal commodity”, it becomes “disposable, entirely at the will of the individual ‘possessor'”, which contradicts Christian beliefs.

Individual control

“Individualism – individual rights, individual comfort and individual control – has indeed become the cornerstone of much modern existence, but it is deeply dysfunctional. We belong to God and to one another”, he commented.

He raised concerns about an “insidious pressure” that legalising assisted suicide would bringing to “many people, and at the most vulnerable time of their life, when they are about to leave this earth”.

Archbishop Clarke said: “Given also the costs of care for the terminally ill (which often falls on a family), unselfish people might well believe that they owe it to their families not to waste the money that they had hoped to leave for loved ones, on their continued care.”

Hospice movement

He also said it is “particularly sad that the hospice movement, where people are wonderfully encouraged to live life as fully as is practicable to the last, should be virtually starved of public money and should hence have to devote so much energy and effort simply to survive financially”.

He criticised Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, who recently said he is in favour of legalising assisted suicide.

Archbishop Clarke said it is “perplexing” that the fundamental Christian belief that life is not “our property to do with as we choose” seemed to have “eluded” Lord Carey.


A Bill to legalise assisted suicide is set to be considered at committee stage in the House of Lords at Westminster.

Archbishop Clarke said it would be “unwise in the extreme” to imagine that the matter will not “transfer to Ireland in the foreseeable future”.

DUP Lord Morrow highlighted the “huge problems” with the proposals debated at Westminster.

He added: “The vast majority of people in Northern Ireland believe in the value of human life and we should measure our society on how we treat the most vulnerable in it, not by installing criteria to judge when a life becomes worthless.”

Related Resources