Irish users of assisted dying facilities ‘worried about prosecution of family’

Irish users of assisted dying facilities 'worried about prosecution of family'

Irish people using assisted dying facilities abroad are afraid to give their home addresses in case their friends or family are prosecuted, activists have said.

Tom Curran, who backs the legalisation of assisted suicide, told The Times that he knew of “several people who have travelled from Ireland in the last few years and who have used the UK as an address”.

He said this was because of the prosecution of Gail O’Rorke, who was acquitted in 2011 of helping a friend to die by suicide.

Official statistics from Dignitas, an assisted dying facility in Switzerland, record that only nine Irish people have ended their lives there. The numbers from other European countries are much higher.

However, Mr Curran said the families and friends of Irish people giving their residence as the UK were “very unlikely to be prosecuted, and that’s distorting the figures from Ireland”.

A spokesperson for Dignitas said: “It is not so important how many Irish people travelled to us for a legal physician-supported accompanied suicide, but much more important is how many people in Ireland attempt a lonely, risky suicide because they are in despair due to their suffering.”

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