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Saturday 30 September 2023 Dublin: 17°C
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# dying with dignity bill
Government 'dragging its heels' on forming committee on assisted dying, says Gino Kenny
The committee to discuss the ethical and constitutional issues of assisted dying has not yet been filled with members of the Oireachtas.

PEOPLE BEFORE PROFIT TD Gino Kenny has expressed his frustration at the Government for delays in naming members of the Oireachtas to sit on the Special Committee on Assisted Dying.

The 15-member committee can’t meet for its purpose of examining how voluntary assisted dying would work in Ireland until all members are nominated.

It will also examine whether or not there are constitutional issues with assisted dying, alongside other legal or ethical issues.

Other provisions include identifying possible unintended consequences of assisted dying legislation.

The formation of the committee was recommended following the passage of the Dying with Dignity Bill, tabled by Kenny, in the Dáil in 2021.

The Dublin Mid-West TD has written to Dáil Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Feraghail this week asking him to accelerate the formation of the committee.

“There’s a fair bit of frustration related to the establishment of the committee,” Kenny told The Journal.

“It just seems to be that the government is dragging it heels in relation to making their nominations. Things can’t progress until the composition of government TDs and Senators are agreed to.”

Last July it was expected that the committee would be in place by October, however by the end of November only the terms of reference of the committee had been agreed to, with Kenny calling it a “long and protracted process” at the time.

Two weeks ago Michael Healy-Rae was chosen to chair the committee, but Kenny has said that aside from Sinn Féin nominating two TDs there has been no other progress.

“Deputy Healey-Rae has written to all the whips last week to say ‘what are your intentions in relation to your nominations?’ It’s just not good enough.”

“It’s very frustrating given the gravity and the seriousness of the issue. It’s time to move on and to have a national discussion about this issue.”

Kenny added that he expects the committee to run for nine months, meaning that no recommendations would be made on assisted dying until the end of this year at the earliest.

“Hopefully, some thing happens over the next week or two. I think everybody’s anxious to move things on,” he said.

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