|Dr Kevin Fitzpatrick|
Dr Kevin Fitzpatrick, director of HOPE Ireland, convened the conference in the wake of recent announcements that a bill will soon be tabled in the Dail (Parliament) in the nation's first attempt through the parliament at legalising assisted suicide.
Alex Schadenberg, head of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition International opened the conference and set the scene with the troubling history of both euthanasia and assisted suicide in the few jurisdictions where these practices are approved in law.
Caroline Roux explained the current troubling developments in France including a dangerous decision in the European Court of Human Rights that endorsed a French Court's earlier decision to starve and dehydrate Vincent Lambert.
Henk Reitsema (Holland) and Tom Mortier (Belgium) outlined their personal and family distress at the euthanasia deaths of a family member while Henk also exposed the undercover killing of patients without consent occurring through the specious use of sedation and then dehydration to death in The Netherlands.
Overall, the day was a tour de force and an exposition of the case against law change, drawing, as Kevin Fitzpatrick observed, on a deep reservoir of experience collected over many years of opposition.
From observing the assembled 100-plus attendees and in conversation it is very obvious that not only is HOPE Ireland answering a need to get organised and active, but that the expertise and ongoing support from international colleagues and from Kevin himself as director has raised people's confidence that the coming bill will be defeated and that the public understanding of the perils of euthanasia and assisted suicide will continue to be reinforced!
Well done to all!
Some of the media reporting on the conference:
- Group says legalising of euthanasia would have 'catastrophic consequences'.
- Euthanasia and assisted suicide could be discriminatory towards people with disabilities.
- Hope Ireland conference opposing euthanasia.