Defiant 'Dr Death' to give suicide tips at Irish euthanasia workshop
A CONTROVERSIAL physician dubbed Dr Death says a euthanasia workshop to be held in Dublin will offer "comfort and solace" to those who have few other options.
Dr Philip Nitschke, founder of Exit International, the global organisation that promotes euthanasia, will hold a workshop for terminally ill people and their families at Liberty Hall on Saturday morning, outlining methods they can use if they wish to take their own lives.
Dr Nitschke, writing in today's Irish Independent, admitted that the people attending his workshops – which reveal suicide methodologies such as the use of barbiturates, poisons and gases – are "indeed often vulnerable," but said they were vulnerable because the law and the Catholic Church were "against them".
Dr Nitschke, who has met with Marie Fleming, the terminally ill woman who lost her constitutional challenge to Ireland's criminal ban on assisted suicide, said she was frustrated and humiliated by the Supreme Court's rejection of her challenge, adding that she "is no fool".
"If my workshop can help Tom and Marie, I know I will have done the right thing," he said.
Yesterday, Ms Fleming's partner Tom Curran told an audience who attended an Exit workshop in London that he had garnered significant political backing in his bid for new legislation and aims to put together a bill to change the law later this year.
Mr Curran, the European co-ordinator of Exit, said he had been approached by Irish politicians who want to help him take his case further.
Mr Curran said he had the backing of four TDs – Independents John Halligan and Stephen Donnelly, Labour's Anne Ferris and Fine Gael's Andrew Doyle – and planned on putting together a bill after a "talking session" of TDs in September.
The bill would be to reduce the restrictions on assisting a person to die, he said.
Dr Nitschke told the London audience of some 80 people that the workshop was to give information on what "practical options" there were available for people to end their lives should they wish.
Mr Curran said that he expected a significant number of people to attend the meeting in Dublin as well as protesters.
Outside the event in London yesterday was a group from the 'Care Not Killing' organisation, a coalition of 40 bodies opposed to euthanasia. Spokesman Daniel Cuffe said they believed the actions of Dr Nitschke fell outside the law.
"If we give up on people who are feeling that way (wanting to take their own lives) simply because they are depressed, because they are troubled . . . that is a sign of a society which has given up, which has said 'we are not going to help you any further' and that is not the society we want," Mr Cuffe said.