Dr Philip Nitschke, dubbed ‘Dr Death’ because of his advocacy of euthanasia and assisted suicide is set to give a “workshop” in Dublin, outlining methods that people can use to kill themselves.
Dr Nitschke, founder of Exit International, the global organisation that promotes euthanasia, will hold the workshop, specifically for terminally ill people and their families at Liberty Hall on Saturday morning.
But protesters at their meeting in London said the group’s work sent the wrong message to vulnerable people.
Daniel Cuffe, a spokesman from the ‘Care Not Killing’ organisation, a coalition of 40 bodies opposed to euthanasia, said he believed the actions of Dr Nitschke fell outside the law.
“If we give up on people who are feeling that way (wanting to take their own lives) simply because they are depressed, because they are troubled . . . that is a sign of a society which has given up, which has said ‘we are not going to help you any further’ and that is not the society we want,” Mr Cuffe said.
Exit International’s website points readers to the drug Nembutal and “Max Dog” Nitrogen, both of which can be administered to end life.
According to the website, the group’s workshops are based on its handbook, which contains what it calls “practical information” including:
· Barbiturates: Online/ offline sources, testing, administration issues & warnings
· Prescription/ Non-prescription Drugs: combinations & legal issues
· Gases: Max Dog Nitrogen, Party Time Helium – the hypoxic death explained
· Poisons: Carbon Monoxide, Cyanide, Detergents – risks, safety & legal issues
· Suicide notes, death certificates, autopsies – need-to-know rights, obligations, insights
Writing in the Irish Independent, Dr Nitschke, who has met with Marie Fleming, the terminally ill woman who lost her constitutional challenge to Ireland’s ban on assisted suicide, said she was frustrated and humiliated by the Supreme Court’s rejection of her challenge, adding that she “is no fool”.
“If my workshop can help Tom and Marie, I know I will have done the right thing,” he said.
Yesterday, Ms Fleming’s partner Tom Curran told an audience who attended an Exit workshop in London that he had garnered significant political backing in his bid for new legislation and aims to put together a bill to change the law later this year.
Mr Curran, the European co-ordinator of Exit, said he had been approached by Irish politicians who want to help him take his case further.
Mr Curran said he had the backing of four TDs – Independents John Halligan and Stephen Donnelly, Labour’s Anne Ferris and Fine Gael’s Andrew Doyle – and planned on putting together a bill after a “talking session” of TDs in September.
The bill would be to reduce the restrictions on assisting a person to die, he said.
Dr Nitschke told the London audience of some 80 people that the workshop was to give information on what “practical options” there were available for people to end their lives should they wish.
Mr Curran said that he expected a significant number of people to attend the meeting in Dublin as well as protesters.