Assisted dying

A chara, – In response to Catherine Kelly Desmond's letter (May 15th), I want to emphasise that assisted dying legislation in the Netherlands has widespread support from all sectors of society, including from people with different religious backgrounds. Strict safeguards, an intensive assessment process and a review committee are in place to ensure compliance with the law.

I support the Irish Dying With Dignity Bill to enable assisted dying legislation for us here, following similar changes in an increasing number of other jurisdictions. I do not use the term “suicide” when talking about assisted dying and they should not be confused. “Suicide” is totally different to assisted dying or medical aid in dying. These terms relate to a person’s well-informed choice to enlist the doctor for medical assistance to die on one’s own terms at home in the presence of loved ones. This will only be granted when legal criteria are met and when the physical and psychological suffering is hopeless and there are no alternatives left. As a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist I understand this difference very well because in my work I have for many years assisted people with suicidal thoughts to seek better alternatives and to live a more fulfilling life.

I sincerely hope that Catherine Kelly Desmond has the compassion and the wisdom to trust the Irish people, my fellow citizens, to decide for themselves what choices they want for the end of their life. – Yours, etc,



Howth, Co Dublin.