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Dublin: 14 °C Thursday 23 October, 2014

Partner of Marie Fleming drafting new right-to-die legislation

Tom Curran has asked a group of barristers to draft legislation on the issue, and says the initial work could be completed by the start of next month.

Image: Family handout of Tom and Marie

TOM CURRAN, THE partner of right-to-die campaigner Marie Fleming, has confirmed he’s having legislation on the issue drafted.

In an interview with TheJournal.ie, Curran said he had set up a working group of four barristers to draw up the planned bill, and that the initial effort may be completed within the next four weeks.

“There are various ways of presenting it to make sure that its not just immediately thrown out. That’s what we’re working on at the moment – an intelligent, long-term campaign rather than a quick burst and it going nowhere,” Curran said.

The former IT professional, who became a full-time carer for Marie in her final years, said the issue of safeguards to protect vulnerable people was the main focus of the work at the moment.

The drafting of the legislation itself is fairly simple but the safeguards are the biggest issue that we’ve come across.
That’s one of the areas where other legislation, such as the bill in England that was presented to parliament, failed.

He’s planning to hold a full meeting of his team in four week’s time, at which point he said the initial work “may well be completed”.

Curran, who is running for a council seat in Wicklow in this summer’s local elections, said he decided to move ahead with the project in February after taking some time to himself the preceding month.

image

Marie Fleming leaving the High Court in Dublin in January last year [Niall Carson/PA Archive/Press Association Images]

The legislation may be presented as a Private Member’s Bill in the Dáil by either Stephen Donnelly or John Halligan, Curran said, but his team are still considering the best way to proceed.

That’s part of the area that we’re investigating at the moment — the best way to get it so that it will be discussed rather than thrown out. I’m also talking to the large political parties directly about that.

However, Curran says he’s aware it may some time before there’s a change in the law surrounding the issue.

It’s very difficult to see any of the political parties that are going to be in power — with this Dáil or the next Dáil — having the guts to tackle it head on. So I think it is going to be a slow process.

59-year-old Marie, who had taken a landmark Supreme Court case to secure a right to die, passed away just before Christmas.

The university lecturer had been attempting to ensure that Curran would not face prosecution if he helped end her life. She was suffering from the final stages of Multiple Sclerosis.

Curran announced last month that he’ll be running for a council seat in the South Wicklow Municipal District, which includes Arklow, Aughrim and Avoca.

(The full interview with Tom will be published tomorrow morning)

Read: Woman who took right-to-die case, Marie Fleming, has passed away

Read: Supreme Court dismisses Marie Fleming’s ‘right to die’ appeal

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