Wednesday 5 August 2009

Courageous Irish politician speaks out against assisted suicide

Congratulations to Dan Neville TD (pictured right), the Fine Gael Spokesman on Mental Health, who has represented Limerick West constituency in Dail Eireann (the House of Representatives in the Parliament of Ireland) since 1997. He speaks out fearlessly and clearly today on assisted suicide in the Irish Examiner , following last week's dangerous judgment in London.

Last Thursday the House of Lords judicial committee (also known as the Law Lords), Britain's highest court, ruled in favour of Debbie Purdy's assisted suicide legal challenge.

Dan Neville, the President of the Irish Association of Suicidology, pointed out:

" ... travelling for suicide 'has never been tested in Irish law'.

"[He] expressed concern about the introduction of such laws in Britain. 'It has been expected for the past 10 years that Britain would make such a move because of developments in Europe,' he said.

"He fears similar laws will eventually be introduced here because 'western society is so homogenous and we tend to follow what is happening in the rest of the world'.

Mr Neville said: 'If we do introduce it, there will be a move towards questioning who is dispensable in society and who is not. Will older people become disposable or people with severe mental disabilities?'

He said: 'There is also concern about pressurised euthanasia. People may feel they are a burden on their families or those who care for them and might be under psychological pressure to end their lives.'

'The sanctity of life is paramount and any interference with it, apart from being unethical, is dangerous,' he said.

One person who I know would be pleased with Mr Neville's stand is Mrs Betty Gibson (pictured left), who for nearly thirty years has led the pro-life battle in Northern Ireland for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children. Those who know me will know that I can pay no higher tribute to Mr Neville for his intervention, by mentioning the pleasure it would give Betty, who died yesterday. She was the dearest friend that the unborn in Ireland could have - deeply loved by Albert her husband, her children and her grandchildren. She was my own dear friend and a friend to countless others, including many who are alive today and who never knew her. On behalf of SPUC's National Council and SPUC's executive committee in Northern Ireland, I send love and deepest sympathy to Albert Gibson and to all his family. May she rest in peace!

And thank you again, Mr Neville.

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