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Assisted Suicide Proposals Slap in Face for Terminally Ill and Disabled People" - Tóibín

The Aontú Leader Peadar Tóibín TD has called for a pause on the progression of assisted suicide legislation, until cancer services and disability services are properly funded. 

Speaking today, Deputy Tóibín said:

"As a human rights party, Aontú is fully opposed to this legislation. We believe that all life should be protected and defended, this stance is unpopular among the ableist political establishment. I'm not a member of the assisted dying committee, but I watched proceedings closely and was particularly struck by the testimony of experts in the palliative care field on how valuable palliative care is to our country. I also found it interesting to note that the College of Psychiatrists in Ireland and the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland are both opposed to assisted suicide legislation. We also saw testimony from Elma Walsh, the mother of the late anti-suicide campaigner Donal Walsh. She talked about the drop in the suicide rate following his public appeal to young people not to take their own lives. I think there would be a huge contradiction in our approach to tackling suicide rates if we were to legalise assisted suicide or euthanasia. Under the proposals of the committee, assisted suicide would be available to people who have six months to live. Imagine being a volunteer for a suicide prevention organisation if this legislation was in place... would you be expected to recommend assisted dying to a terminally-ill suicidal person who calls the helpline?"


Deputy Tóibín continued: "The focus, by the government and opposition parties on this legislation, to the neglect of disability and cancer services is a slap in the face to terminally-ill and disabled people, many of whom have told me in recent times that they feel hurt by this constant talk of assisted suicide, instead of increased resources. The area many areas in need of huge improvements - for example the Health Minister has confirmed to Aontú following a Parliamentary Question that there exists a 12% differential in breast cancer survival rates for those diagnosed in a private hospital vs those diagnosed in the public system. This is utterly shameful. Why don't we have an Oireachtas committee set up to increase survival rates? This legislation goes against every good healthcare principle. The testimony from the most expert and experienced witnesses was stacking against this Bill, and yet the committee majority have voted to legalise it? When it came to a vote initially in the Dáil, the margin was only ten votes, so I don't understand why the government are putting pressure on the committee to support the legislation, or why the dissenting voices on the committee are being shut down by government TDs”.


“All the international evidence points to the fact that where assisted suicide is legalised, people with disabilities and terminal illness feel pressured to end their lives, with some reporting they feel a burden on society. Many people around the country are shocked at this push for assisted suicide, especially by a government which is failing to properly fund palliative care for those at the end of their life. Many are furious that the government TDs would favour this legislation, over the investment necessary in care. Many are seeing these proposals through the lens of the resistance to invest in disability and care services by a government which presided over a shocking death rate from Covid in nursing homes. While the government and their friends in opposition will say this legislation is restrictive, it is impossible for doctors to give 100% accurate prognosis on the time a person has left. While doctors are often right, there are many cases they've been proven wrong in their estimations. This legislation needs a proper hearing, but we should first ensure that disability services and cancer services are brought to an impeccable condition before having any further discussions on assisted dying”, concluded Tóibín.

By Aontú Press | 10 April, 2024

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The Irish political system is radically broken

In Ireland the vast majority of elected representatives put a finger in the air to check which way the political wind is blowing. They have one eye on their leaders – seeking brownie points – and another eye keeping their seat safe. If elected reps shut up and do as they’re told, they are promoted; if they stand up for what they believe in, they are demoted. No wonder we have the political class we have. No wonder one point one billion euro is being buried in a hole under the National Children’s Hospital and that Stormont is in stalemate.

Throughout Ireland, many people are now afraid to say what they feel, many are afraid to respectfully engage on a range of different topics. Many feel there is a new censorship and a new political correctness in Ireland, that opposition to the establishment is being deleted.

Respectful opposition is not the enemy. Respectful opposition is a critical element of a functional democracy. Aontú will have the backbone to stand up, without fear, for you.