Getting Ireland ready for conversations about end-of-life matters.
I remember "the Marie Fleming case" very well and what herself, her husband and her family had to go through seemed beyond awful. That her husband could risk being accused of murdering his wife if he stopped her horrid suffering... well it seemed inhuman. We wouldn't want a pet to suffer like that.... So when Janie asked me for some help with the visual communication for the End of Life Ireland (EOLI) volunteer led advocacy group, well of course I would help.
I've had quite a few conversations about this and it is clear to me that we need to "educate" people about what we want to achieve. Of course we do not want it to be mis-used. And it won't. All it will do is make it legal to end life for terminal ill people, if they wish to do so. If their life is a living hell, why should they have to go on.....?
End of Life Ireland (EOLI) made a submission to the Justice Committee reviewing the Dying with Dignity Bill 2020. Throughout the submission we have emphasised our core values of choice and compassion. By choice, we mean people suffering from a terminal illness (only) who wish to end their lives have that choice. By compassion we mean it is a desirable goal to reduce suffering in our society. Compassion will ensure no-one will suffer a prolonged painful death against their wishes.
The submission is based upon our research of the practice around Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD, our preferred term) in countries such as Holland and Canada. Based on international research, we argue that there is no evidence that ‘vulnerable groups’, such as the very elderly, or those with intellectual or physical impairments are adversely affected by the availability of VAD. No such legislation has ever been repealed, reflecting the high levels of acceptance in societies where it is available. We argue that international experience shows that safeguards work.