Friday 27 April 2018

Dying woman's partner held on way to euthanasia event

Tom Curran and Marie Fleming
Tom Curran and Marie Fleming

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

THE partner of Marie Fleming, the terminally ill woman who lost her Supreme Court battle to die at a time of her own choosing, was questioned by detectives last night as he arrived in London for a euthansia workshop.

Tom Curran, the European co-ordinator of Exit International – the global voluntary euthanasia organisation led by Australian doctor Philip Nitschke – was briefly detained at Heathrow airport where his bags were searched by detectives.

Mr Curran, whose partner Marie lost her constitutional challenge to the ban on assisted suicide last April, told the Irish Independent that he was asked several questions by officials before proceeding to central London.

Last Sunday Dr Nitschke, known as 'Doctor Death' for his support of so-called 'mercy killings', was also detained for questioning by immigration officials at Gatwick airport.

Dr Nitschke, who will present a seminar in London today and at Dublin's Liberty Hall on Saturday, was later permitted to enter the UK.

The Exit workshops have proved controversial as they inform attendees on a range of euthanasia methods including the use of barbiturates, gases, and poisons. Anyone suffering from a mental illness is not permitted to attend.

Mr Curran, whose partner Marie is in the final stages of multiple sclerosis, said that although pro-life groups and others had objected to Dr Nitschke's previous Irish workshops, the authorities here have never intervened to prevent them going ahead.


Describing Ms Fleming's case as "tragic", a seven-judge Supreme Court ruled that there was no constitutional right to die or to be assisted to do so.

However, it said there was nothing to prevent the introduction of legislation to deal with cases such as that of Ms Fleming.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has ruled out the introduction of laws permitting assisted suicide.

In her landmark action, Ms Fleming had claimed the absolute ban on assisted suicide in Section 2.2 of the Criminal Law Suicide Act 1993 – in her particular circumstances as a severely disabled person unable to take her own life unaided – disproportionately infringes her personal autonomy rights under the Constitution and European Convention on Human Rights.

She claimed the ban is discriminatory in that an able-bodied person may take their own life lawfully.

Irish Independent

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