Sinn Féin is the latest party to confirm its support for the Dying with Dignity Bill to allow terminally ill people to end their own lives.
The party is now backing the passage of the bill at second stage, which will be debated in the Dáil in the coming weeks.
Eoin Ó Broin, the party’s housing spokesman, confirmed that while there are “differing views” within Sinn Féin on the matter, the party is backing the bill’s progression to allow it go into committee for pre-legislative scrutiny.
“My understanding is we're happy to support the bill at second stage. This is a really significant issue. We need a public debate and a national debate on this. There are different views that are inside our party,” he said.
“There are also different views within the constituency we represent, but not having that debate is not a solution for anybody. So our view is that we think we should allow the bill to pass through the second stage. So to have that full and frank proper discussion in committee before we decide how to proceed,” he said.
With Sinn Féin on board, most opposition parties and groupings are backing the bill, with the exception of Aóntu leader Peadar Tóibín and members of the Rural Independent group.
Danny Healy Rae, the Kerry TD and a member of the group, said he is personally opposed to the bill, saying he is very concerned.
“I’d be afraid that it would put the idea into people’s minds or that someone could influence them. And I would have other concerns. It is, to my mind, not the right thing to do,” he told the.
“I was horrified, and I still am, and what was decided about the little babies and I know people suffer and all that, it is tough all right. But I fear that this is leading us into interfering with the natural process,” he said.
The Rural Independent group is to meet this week for formalise its position on the matter.
So far, the Labour Party, the left-wing independents, and the Social Democrats have indicated their support for the bill.
The three Government parties — Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, and the Greens — are yet to formally decide on their position on the bill, proposed by Gino Kenny, the People Before Profit TD.
Sources within each party say there is a growing mood towards a free vote, as it is seen as an issue on conscience.