Tánaiste wants all-party committee to examine issue of assisted suicide 

Tánaiste wants all-party committee to examine issue of assisted suicide 

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has told party colleagues that he favours the established of an all-party Oireachtas Committee to look into the issue of assisted suicide.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has told party colleagues that he favours the establishment of an all-party Oireachtas Committee to look into the issue of assisted suicide.

The Dying with Dignity Bill, which would allow terminally ill people to end their own lives, was discussed at length at a meeting of the Fine Gael parliamentary party this evening.

Justice Minister Helen McEntee put forward a number of options, including holding a Citizens' Assembling on the issue.

However, most members of the party, including Mr Varadkar, voiced support for an Oireachtas Committee similar to the one that was set up around the Eighth Amendment.

It is understood Heather Humphreys and Josepha Madigan said they would be against a free vote when the Bill, tabled by People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny, comes back at second stage. 

A spokesperson for Ms Madigan later said she spoke at length on the issue and said it would be best to have a Citizens' Assembly on the issue first followed by a free vote.

Both expressed concerns that TDs would be put under intense pressure if a free vote was allowed.

Mr Varakdar said the second stage of the Bill could be deferred for a number of months to allow a special committee to hear from experts and those with personal experiences.

A number of members, including John McGahon and Barry Ward said they would be against putting the issue to a Citizen's Assembly as this would be simply kicking the can down the road.

Mr Varadkar added that given the Covid-19 threat, there are also "practical concerns" around holding a Citizens' Assembly.

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