Iconic accordion player Tony MacMahon said he is planning his assisted suicide will have “a whale of a time” attending his own wake.
The 77-year-old announced in 2014 that he was unable to perform live any longer due to a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. However, speaking to Liveline yesterday, he revealed that after a battery of further tests, this diagnosis was incorrect and he was now in much better health.
Currently in India working on a memoir of his life, Mr MacMahon said he was planning an assisted suicide, surrounded by friends, family, and relatives.
“I’ve now decided on what the last chapter of my book will be. It will be on my assisted suicide but not in Dignatas in Switzerland in a clinical cold. It will happen in my own home surrounded by friends, musicians, relatives and hopefully I will do it that way. And I have found a way of circumventing the legal possibilities of the doctor who orders the stuff being prosecuted.
“I spoke to Dignitas. I looked at the costs involved. It’s €4,000 to have the work done and disposal, cremation etc costs €11,000 so it occurred to me, wouldn’t it be much better to spend that on a whale of a night out in my own home, entertain people and have all the good things that are said about me said to my face before I go.”
The famed accordion player also revealed he was back performing live again and revealed that smoking marijuana had helped him with “a terrible tremor” he has in his right hand.
“I was advised by a very competent person that a small smoke of marijuana before playing on stage would cool off my right hand and allow me to play. So I tried it four weeks ago at a concert in Dundalk. I went out on stage in terror and I played one tune to good applause. I played a second. I went on and played a third.
“The stuff I had smoked began to kick in midway through the third and I have never played better in my life and I brought the bloody house down,” he said.
He also revealed that he had looked at ways at circumventing the law in order to have die in his own home.
“I was a medical student. I know a great many doctors. If you get 20 or 30 doctors to sign a round-robin order for the cocktail involved, the DPP would have a very hard job in picking out somebody to prosecute,” he said.
Mr MacMahon is regarded as an icon within traditional music circles and had a long career with RTÉ as a presenter of traditional music television programmes like The Pure Drop and Come West Along the Road.
He also has been a frequent critic of modern trends in the performance of traditional music and, in particular, the growing commercialisation of the music form.
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