Calls for assisted suicide to be legalised have been rejected by Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
Independent TD John Halligan urged Mr Kenny to reconsider the emotive issue following the failure of terminally ill multiple sclerosis sufferer Marie Fleming to get the Supreme Court to back her bid to end her life.
Ms Fleming’s partner Tom Curran attended the Dáil’s public gallery to hear Mr Halligan plead on his wife’s behalf.
Mr Kenny insisted, however, that although the court had ruled the Oireachtas could change the law, the judges had not say it should.
He insisted it was not his place to bring about such a change in the law but said the matter could be the subject of health committee hearings.
Referring to Ms Fleming, Mr Kenny said: “By any standards, this is an extraordinary case involving an extraordinary woman.
“I believe that if this House were asked to find words to adequately describe the impeccable courage and dignity and competence of Ms Fleming it would probably be rendered mute.
“I understand the grief of this extraordinary woman and the commitment of her partner and family but it is not open to me to give you the commitment you seek.”
Mr Halligan said it was now time to legislate on the matter as long as strict safeguards were put in place.
“All of us have a right to a dignified life and the right to demand a dignified life but we also have the right to a dignified death,” he said.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved