Dying with Dignity Bill

 

Sir, – At the Irish Hospice Foundation, we believe that every person deserves a “good death” but what is a “good death”? Through our work in the community, nursing homes, hospitals and residential care settings, people tell us a “good death” is one where pain and suffering are managed to the best extent possible. It would be impossible to argue against this.

The Dying with Dignity Bill currently before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice says it is “An Act to make provision for assistance in achieving a dignified and peaceful end of life to qualifying persons and related matters”, but in this regard the Bill only addresses how to enable a person to end their own life.

Dying with dignity is about so much more than the right to end your own life; it is about a palliative care approach which improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing life-threatening illness.

In our submission on the Dying with Dignity Bill in January 2021, we called for the absolute necessity of public debate on the issue of assisted dying. We continue to hold this position. The debate must be robust, considered, dignified, inclusive and respectful of all views in this highly complex issue. We believe there are two possible outlets for this important debate – that a citizens’ assembly or a special Dáil committee be established.

The current Dying with Dignity Bill serves to highlight more questions and concerns about this issue than answer them.

The Irish public deserve and want better than this. – Yours, etc,

SHARON FOLEY,

Chief Executive,

Irish Hospice Foundation,

Dublin 2.