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Committee to recommend legislation for assisted dying

An Oireachtas Committee is to recommend that legislation is introduced to allow for assisted dying if a person has a terminal illness and has only a short time to live.

The Joint Committee on Assisted Dying is to publish its report on 20 March but the outline text of the report was agreed after several days of deliberations.

A majority of the TDs and Senators on the Committee voted that the law should be changed to enable a person to receive assistance to end their life if they have between six and twelve months to live.

The legislation would primarily apply to a person diagnosed with an illness or medical condition that is incurable, irreversible, progressive and advanced and will cause death within six months.

This time limit is likely set at twelve months for neurodegenerative conditions.

The committee says the proposed legislation should also state that the illness must be causing suffering which cannot be relieved in a way that the ill person finds tolerable.

In these cases, the person would be eligible to be assessed for assisted dying and all be overseen by a medical professional.

The Joint Committee on Assisted Dying was established last year to consider and make recommendations for legislative and policy change related to a statutory right to assist a person to end his, her or their life.

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