Kathy Sheridan: Let Vicky Phelan die on her own terms

The time for a debate in Ireland on assisted suicide has come

Vicky Phelan has confronted her own death to the point where talking about it has come to seem almost normal, a gift in itself for all who must face up to crucifying prognoses. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Vicky Phelan has confronted her own death to the point where talking about it has come to seem almost normal, a gift in itself for all who must face up to crucifying prognoses. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw

The savage reality of Vicky Phelan’s life was buried in the final few paragraphs of her remarkable piece: “Allow me to die with dignity, on my own terms. Let that be my legacy.”

It was not a new position for her – she called for legalisation of assisted suicide in Ireland last December, a time when she believed she had two years to live – but one given added urgency in her Sunday Independent piece by Ruth Morrissey’s tragic death and everything those women have taught us about how many shades of raw courage and battling can be sustained in death’s shadow.

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