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Suspected case of assisted suicide was sent to DPP this year

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TD Gino Kelly introduced bill

TD Gino Kelly introduced bill

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

TD Gino Kelly introduced bill

A suspected case of assisted suicide was sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions for consideration this year, it has emerged.

New figures reveal there have been six suspected assisted suicide cases sent to the DPP in the last decade.

It has prompted calls for the Dáil to decriminalise the "right to die" and allow assisted suicide for those who are suffering with terminal illnesses in specific cases.

At the moment aiding, abetting or counselling the suicide of another person is illegal.

In 2013, Gail O'Rorke became the first person to be charged with assisted suicide for assisting her friend Bernadette Forde's death. Ms O'Rorke was acquitted in 2015.

Documents released to the Herald under Freedom of Information show one case of suspected assisted suicide was sent to the DPP this year. A spokesman for the DPP declined to comment on whether or not a prosecution will follow.

Bill

There were a total of five other cases sent to the DPP since 2010. There was one suspected case each year in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

There was one case in 2015 and another in 2017.

A new bill introduced to the Oireachtas would decriminalise assisted suicide in specific cases when a person is suffering from a terminal illness.

Gino Kenny, the People Before Profit TD who introduced the bill, said the six cases sent to the DPP over the last decade showed that people were likely carrying out assisted suicides both in Ireland and abroad despite the law.

"People with terminal illnesses shouldn't have to travel to other countries to have the right to end their life under extremely difficult circumstances," Mr Kenny said.

Mr Kenny said he believed his bill has a strong chance of passing if Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael both give their party members a free vote on the issue.