Kevin O'Higgins Solicitors

Draft legislation for Bill allowing terminally ill to make ‘living wills’

Wednesday, 5 February, 2014
The Irish Times
by Harry McGee, Political Correspondent

Bill was originally drafted and presented by Wexford TD Dr Liam Twomey in 2010.

The Government has published draft legislation for a Bill to allow terminally ill people to make “living wills” setting out treatments they wish, and do not wish, to have at the end of their lives. Minster for Health James Reilly yesterday brought the general scheme of the Assisted Decision-Making Capacity Bill to Government, where it was approved by Cabinet colleagues.

The Bill was originally drafted and presented by Wexford TD Dr Liam Twomey in 2010, when he was in the Seanad.

The legislation provides that a person may set out their end-of-life care and their desired medical treatment when they have reached a terminal stage of their condition where they no longer have the capacity to make their views known.

At the time, Dr Twomey argued that the State lagged behind many other countries in this area.

“If left unchecked, patients who are unable to communicate their care decisions to care-givers may continue to be treated against their wishes,” he said at the time.

The draft Bill will now be published and sent out for public consultation.

The responses and submissions received will be debated and discussed by the Oireachtas Committee on Health in advance of the final Bill being published.

Mr Reilly said: “Advance healthcare directives represent an important means by which people can exercise their autonomy, which is an integral component of a patient-focused model of healthcare”.