Join Donate

Ireland to consider assisted dying law

Pictured: Department of the Taoiseach, Dublin, Ireland

Yesterday, the Republic of Ireland announced that it will examine the issue of assisted dying. A special committee of the Oireachtas (Irish Parliament), made up of nine deputies and five senators, will be tasked to carry out an in-depth study. Humanists UK welcomes this news and hopes that Westminster follows suit.

The committee will explore eligibility criteria, safeguards, and processes and will be capable of recommending legislative change.

In 2020, the Dying with Dignity Bill was submitted to the Dáil, the lower house of the Oireachtas. The Bill would allow people with terminal illnesses the option of an assisted death. It received widespread public support and passed its second stage by 81 to 71 votes. However, in 2021, during the next stage, the Justice Committee chose not to proceed, instead suggesting a special committee look at the issue in depth. That is what is now happening.

The committee will aim to complete its report within nine months of its first public meeting, the date of which has yet to be announced. The UK Health and Social Care Committee is expected to launch an inquiry into assisted dying in England and Wales in early 2023.

Assisted Dying Campaigner Nathan Stilwell said:

‘We are very pleased that the Republic of Ireland is moving forward in examining assisted dying. Jersey, the Isle of Man, Scotland, France, and now Ireland are all looking into this issue right now and Westminster looks poised to set up an inquiry in the new year. People who are suffering at the end of their lives desperately want to see progress.

‘People who are terminally ill or incurably suffering deserve the right to make choices at the end of their lives. Assisted dying has always been an issue of freedom and autonomy. But politicians need to examine the evidence, from at home and abroad, in order to make an informed decision on this vital issue.’

Notes:

For further comment or information, media should contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson at press@humanists.uk or phone 020 7324 3072 or 07534 248 596.

Read more about a decade of campaigning for the legal right to die – at home and abroad.

Read more about our campaign to legalise assisted dying in the UK.

Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by 100,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.

Search Humanists UK