Dublin, 20th March 2024 – In a momentous decision that marks a sorrowful day for our country, the Oireachtas Committee on Assisted Dying has recommended the legalisation of assisted suicide and euthanasia in Ireland. In other words, the Committee believes the state should facilitate the suicide, or the intentional killing, of certain kinds of patients. This move, which deeply troubles the very foundations of respect for life and human dignity that our society is built upon, is met with profound sadness and unequivocal rejection by Family Solidarity.

The Committee has ignored the pleas of many Irish medical organisations, which have highlighted the ethical dilemmas and the potential for a slippery slope that such legislation introduces. These organisations, representing a wide array of healthcare professionals, have consistently emphasised the importance of enhancing palliative care services and the dangers of undermining the physician-patient relationship through the introduction of assisted suicide and euthanasia.

The belief that such legislation can be enacted in limited circumstances has been rejected by the evidence presented by many experts at the Committee. In every other country where assisted suicide or euthanasia has been introduced, the safeguards have been gradually eroded, leading to a broadening of the criteria under which these actions can be taken. This pattern demonstrates a concerning trend towards more liberal application of the laws, often including individuals not originally considered under the legislation, such as those with non-terminal illnesses, psychological suffering, or even minors in some jurisdictions.

The report by the Oireachtas Committee on Assisted Dying not only disregards the sanctity of life but also poses severe risks and consequences for society as a whole. It opens the door to potential abuses, undermines the doctor-patient relationship, and shifts the focus away from the advancement of palliative care and the support of those experiencing suffering and terminal illness.

Family Solidarity urges the people of Ireland and our legislators to consider the grave implications of introducing assisted suicide and euthanasia. We call for a renewed commitment to improving palliative care, supporting families in times of illness and need, and fostering a culture that values every life, regardless of the challenges faced.