Euthanasia law passes first Dáil hurdle

Euthanasia law passes first Dáil hurdle Volunteers from Hope Ireland, a group opposed to the legalisation of assisted suicide pictured outside the Dáil today in advance of this evening's vote on Gino Kenny's private members bill on euthanasia. Photo: John McElroy.

Radical legislation that would make it legal to end the lives of vulnerable patients has passed the first stage in the Oireachtas by 81 votes 71.

It was debated for just 70 minutes, with TDs opposed to the move only permitted four minutes of speaking time.

Politicians backed the move to send the plan to a committee for further debate despite the fact that it was opposed by medics.

Just four Fianna Fáil TDs backed the proposal while 33 opposed it. On the Fine Gael benches, ten TDs supported the move while 20 voted against it. All representatives of Sinn Féin, the Green Party, Labour, the Social Democrats and Solidarity-PBP supported the legislation.

Previously the legislation was criticise by the Irish Palliative Medicine Consultants’ Association, the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland and the Association for Palliative Medicine of Britain and Ireland.

Earlier today, the bishops’ conference in a statement made clear their opposition to euthanasia.

“Assisted suicide is often presented as something that would be rare and exceptional. Once assisted suicide is accepted in principle, it becomes very difficult to draw a line. Many countries, which began by legalising assisted suicide on a very limited basis, have moved on to widen significantly the scope of that legislation,” the bishops warned.