Monday 19 March 2018

MEP's anger over euthanasia speech amid health cuts

CONTROVERSY: HSE sponsors lecture by supporter of assisted death

AN IRISH MEP has criticised health chiefs for sponsoring a "pro-euthanasia lecture" while also making drastic budget cuts.

Kathy Sinnott, a disability campaigner, has obtained a copy of the invitation to the Health Service Executive's (HSE) invite-only lecture 'Why euthanasia should be legalised'.

Ms Sinnott said: "This lecture comes in the same week that the HSE must find €1.2bn in cuts to its budget. The speaker, Professor Len Doyal, is an open proponent of both voluntary and non-voluntary euthanasia.

"He is quoted as saying, 'Some supporters of euthanasia remain silent about non-voluntary euthanasia, presumably because they believe that focusing on voluntary euthanasia offers a better chance of legalisation. Proponents of voluntary euthanasia should support non-voluntary euthanasia under appropriate circumstances and with proper regulation'."

The MEP said, until recently, no one believed euthanasia could be legalised in this country. "But having seen it passed into law in Luxembourg, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Belgium, the possibility seems less remote by the day.

"It may be coincidence, but the fact that the Government has sponsored this lecture for the medical staff of CUH [Cork University Hospital] in the same week that it is seeking to cut €1.2bn from the health budget sends shivers down my spine."


Ms Sinnott said: "The Government is already cutting essential services to vulnerable people based on the rationing of resources. And to bring in a world renowned proponent of euthanasia, who is also an expert on the rationing of medical resources, during a recession is frightening.

"The Government's funding of this lecture is unacceptable and cannot be allowed to go forward. Our aging people need to be protected and thanked for all they have done."

The lecture will be held on April 9 in the main auditorium of Cork University Hospital. It was organised by Cork University Hospital Ethics Forum. The HSE did not comment today. Mr Doyal is a controversial figure who has advocated doctors being able to end the lives of some terminally ill patients, even if consent has not been given.


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