Aontu leader and Meath West TD, Peadar Toibin, has emerged as an opponent of the bill, which proposes to legalise assisted suicide, that is currently before the Dail.
He said this week, ‘ This bill on assisted suicide was brought forward by Gino Kenny TD in the middle of a global pandemic in which we are being told to protect each other, the vulnerable and the old in particular.
‘Sadly, this bill runs contrary to that message and will have huge negative impacts on palliative care, end of life care, and the campaign against suicide in the general public. Similar Bills have been opposed by Disability Rights organisations in Britain arguing that the choice to die could be “an illusory choice” if people with disabilities are not offered proper support. This bill will make it legal for a doctor or medical assistant to help end the life of a patient. This is not healthcare.
Deputy Tóibín continued: ‘There is something deeply, deeply tragic in the fact that within minutes of the vote on assisted suicide, TDs voted against the reopening of disability services.
‘The government put forward an amendment to the cross-party disability motion in an attempt to hollow it out. Leo Varadkar and Stephen Donnelly voted for that amendment, against the reopening of disability services, less than five minutes after they voted for assisted suicide. What does that say about where their priorities are?
‘Today the Tánaiste told me that he couldn’t offer me any clarity on the situation with Cervical Check. A huge backlog has built up and terminally ill women are still being dragged through the courts. It’s scandalous that the proper functioning of Cancer Services is not the priority here.
‘The government have consistently ignored my calls for a full public investigation into the management of Covid-19 in nursing homes, and seem hell bent on defending their handling of the situation, defending the fact that nursing homes were left without PPE, that Nursing Homes Ireland was ignored by the Department for so long, that they were nearly scolded by the government when they suggested closing nursing homes at the start of the pandemic.
‘Nobody from the government benches seemed in any way critical of any of these decisions. But many, including the Tánaiste and Minister for Health, yesterday, voted for an assisted suicide bill which will make it legal for a doctor or healthcare worker to assist a terminally ill person in ending their own life’.he concluded