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TDs will be asked to vote on new right-to-die laws before Christmas

Tom Curran, the partner of campaigner Marie Fleming who died last year, says new legislation he’s been working on is almost complete.

Image: Family handout of Tom and Marie

THE PARTNER OF right-to-die campaigner Marie Fleming, Tom Curran, says legislation he’s having drafted on the issue is “almost at its completion stage”.

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

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, who launched a bid for a council seat in Wicklow in May’s local elections, confirmed to TheJournal.ie back in March that he was working on the legislation with a team of barristers.

He now says that work’s almost complete, and that his team is holding discussions on “the best way to present it”.

“We hope to have it presented through the Dail or through the senate certainly by the end of this year, if not before.

Curran says the issue of safeguards to protect the vulnerable has been their overriding priority.

“We want to ensure the legitimate fears of people are satisfied and that nobody is put in any danger

But we also want to give people who are not vulnerable the right to choose a peaceful death.

Source: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

Tom Curran and Marie Fleming at the High Court in Dublin in January of last year. 

Curran says he expects the legislation will be presented as a Private Member’s Bill by either Stephen Donnelly — the high-profile Wicklow Independent who backed his ultimately unsuccessful run for the Council — or Waterford Independent John Halligan, both of whom are members of the Dáil’s Technical Group.

“That’s still the plan at the moment.”

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“The reason that it took a bit longer than we thought [to draft the legislation] is that I got involved in running in the local election.

“I also needed to give myself time to grieve after Marie’s death.”

Curran says barristers involved with the Public Interest Law Alliance contacted him and volunteered to help draft the proposed new laws.

A Private Member’s Bill can be put forward by any member of the Oireachtas (in the Dáil or the Seanad).

In practice, the Government generally opposes such Bills, so they rarely have a chance to become law. However, they are often initiated to draw attention to an issue, or highlight a gap in the law.

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

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

About the author:

Daragh Brophy

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