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Mercy killing supporters prepare for clashes with pro-lifers at city seminar


Marie Fleming and her partner Tom Curran. Photo: PA

Marie Fleming and her partner Tom Curran. Photo: PA

Marie Fleming and her partner Tom Curran. Photo: PA

RIGHT-to-die campaigner Tom Curran expects protests from pro-life groups at a voluntary euthanasia seminar in Dublin tomorrow.

Mr Curran, the European coordinator of Exit International, the global voluntary euthanasia organisation led by Australian doctor Philip Nitschke, said his terminally-ill partner, Marie Fleming, is not well enough to attend the seminar in Liberty Hall.

Ms Fleming, who is in the final stages of multiple sclerosis, recently lost her Supreme Court battle in Dublin to die at a time of her own choosing.

"It is the fourth seminar we have had in Dublin," Mr Curran said.

But he expected protests from pro-life people who were now well-organised.

Mr Curran confirmed he had been questioned by police in Heathrow Airport during the week while on his way to London city. He said that he had been asked if he was carrying anything he shouldn't be bringing into the country. "I said no," Mr Curran added.

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

Mr Curran said it was "not true" that they carried drugs to end life. "We are an information organisation and that is all we provide," Mr Curran said on Newstalk's Lunchtime programme.

The majority who attend the meetings are concerned that they have an option if they got sick in the future, he said.


Most were older people, but there was, occasionally, a younger person with a terminal illness, Mr Curran explained. "They are ordinary people, off the street, rational people." He said his partner had not been well over the past couple of months, but "she wants to live, she doesn't want to die at this point".

But she wanted to know that she had the option later, he added.

Mr Curran said some politicians had been in touch with him about a change in the law and he said the current Taoiseach, who had ruled out a change, would not go on for ever.

Exit workshops inform attendees on a range of euthanasia methods – including barbiturates, gases and poisons.

Attendance is restricted to those aged 50 or over and the seriously ill. The mentally ill are not permitted to attend.

Mr Curran said earlier this week that, although pro-life groups had objected to Dr Nitschke's previous Irish workshops, the authorities here have never prevented them from going ahead.