A NEW bill which aims to legalise assisted dying has passed the first stage at the Dáil.
The Dying With Dignity Bill, put forward by Solidarity-People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny, passed by 81 votes to 71 and will now continue to the committee stage in order to undergo detailed scrutiny through debate.
All Sinn Féin, Labour, Social Democrats, Solidarity-PBP and Green Party TDs voted in favour of the Bill, along with 3 Independents, 4 members of Fianna Fail and 10 members of Fine Gael.
Gino Kenny welcomed the Bill passing the first stage of the Dáil, calling it an "amazing result".
"Thanks to all the TD’s who voted for the bill to proceed to committee stage. Thanks to the the amazing Vicky Phelan, Tom Curran and Gail [O’Rourke] for their support.
"Sometimes issues like this transcend politics. This was the occasion."
Amazing result tonight. Thanks to all the TD’s who voted for the bill to proceed to committee stage. Thanks to the the amazing Vicky Phelan, Tom Curran and Gail O’Rorke for their support. Sometimes issues like this transcend politics. This was the occasion.
— Gino Kenny TD (@Ginosocialist) October 7, 2020
The introduction of the bill was supported by patient advocate Vicky Phelan, who has cervical cancer and who famously brought the Health Service Executive to court for the mishandling of hundreds of smear tests which resulted in at least 221 women wrongly being told their tests were clear.
She spoke outside Leinster House in September at the launch of the bill, stating "there is a certain amount of suffering that no amount of pain management can get on top of. I don’t want my children to see me like that."
"I never want my children to see me dying... I want to be able to make that choice when the time comes... [in] the last couple of weeks of my life."
Ms Phelan welcomed the bill passing yesterday and thanked all TDs from each party who voted for the Dying With Dignity Bill to go to the next stage.
THANK YOU to ALL 81 TDs who voted for the #dyingwithdignitybill to go to the next stage.
I cannot thank @Ginosocialist @bridsmithTD and @pb4p enough for proposing the Bill.
To @labour @sinnfeinireland @SocDems for supporting it all the way
To ALL @greenparty_ie TDs. Thank you pic.twitter.com/SCrtot0qYz
— Vicky Phelan (@PhelanVicky) October 7, 2020
"There is a long way to go and the Bill will require lots of scrutiny and amendments to ensure that vulnerable patients and medical practitioners are protected," she wrote, "BUT today is a good day for democracy".
If signed into law, under certain circumstances the bill would legalise assisted dying for those over 18.