The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) has expressed concern about what it describes as a “rushed and incomplete” debate on the Dying with Dignity Bill.
The body, which provides end-of-life care and support, has called for “a robust and balanced debate” on the issue of assisted dying.
Last month, TDs voted to move the bill, which was introduced by People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny, to committee stage for further scrutiny.
The IHF said it believed there was a need for a “considered forum” to thoroughly examine the proposed legislation.
The body’s chief executive Sharon Foley (small picture) said it had written to the Oireachtas Justice Committee urging them to seek out the diverse range of voices, relevant case studies and international research which were available.
She said countries such as New Zealand and Canada had gone through a very thorough consultation and debate process before introducing legislation on assisted dying.
“We can learn from their processes and other international experiences while addressing Irish cultural and societal norms,” Ms Foley said.
“We need to ensure the debate is open, non-exclusionary, and further, that the committee is a safe and effective space for a wide range of views to be heard on such a complex and difficult piece of legislation.”
Investment a key issue
The IHF described the bill as “a seismic shift” in legislative terms, adding that its impact on all areas of society could not be underestimated.
The body said it wanted to ensure that everyone facing dying and death received the best care, empathy and compassion.
Its chief executive said investment in end-of-life and palliative care, including home care supports, was a key issue for IHF.
“There should be equity of services available to people facing the end of their lives and those who support them.
“Unfortunately, this is still not the case,” she said.