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Irish Supreme Court rules in MS sufferer's case

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Irish Times reported: Terminally ill multiple sclerosis sufferer Marie Fleming (see our earlier reports here) has lost her landmark court challenge to the blanket ban on assisted suicide. The right to life under the [Irish] Constitution "does not import a right to die" in this "very tragic case" , the Supreme Court ruled. While suicide is no longer a crime here, that does not mean there is a constitutional right to suicide, the Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Susan Denham, said.

There is "no explicit right to commit suicide, or to determine the time of one's own death" in the Constitution. There was, accordingly, no constitutional right which the State, including the courts, must protect and vindicate, either to commit suicide or to arrange for the termination of one's own life at a time of one's choosing.

The principle of equal treatment also does not confer on Ms Fleming, as a disabled person, the right to be assisted in taking her own life, the court ruled. The Chief Justice stressed nothing in the court's judgment "should be taken as necessarily implying it would not be open to the State, in the event the Oireachtas (the Irish Legislature) were satisfied that measures with appropriate safeguards could be introduced, to deal with a case such as that of Ms Fleming's".

Further arguments and explanation can be found here.

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