It is a sad day for Ireland when the national broadcasting service – RTÉ (Radio Telefis Éireann) – actively promotes suicide and euthanasia on a weekly ‘entertainment’ show. Last year (17 March and 9 March), I blogged on the visit to Ireland by the Australian ‘Dr.’ Philip Nietschke, and the unsuccessful attempt that was made to prevent him from conducting his suicide ‘workshop’ in Dublin. When he came here again earlier this year, a representative protest was mounted outside the premises in a Dublin north inner-city laneway where he was conducting one of his ‘workshops’ on how to end one’s life. Numerous phone calls were made to the office of the Garda (police) Commissioner, pointing out that euthanasia and assisted suicide are illegal in Ireland, and the Commissioner was requested to take appropriate action to stop the event taking place.
On Friday last Dr. Nietschke was a guest on the popular Late Late Show, when he spoke about how he makes it possible for people to kill themselves, or to help other people to do so. He gave the impression that he pursues this work out of compassion, and he considers that people who have a wish to end their lives should be allowed to do so legally. He wants to work towards changing the law against euthanasia, and at one point – encouraged by the presenter of the programme – he demonstrated the ‘deliverance machine’ that he uses for the purpose of his work. He holds that when people receive the lethal doses required to kill them they can then live ‘very happy lives’ (seems a bit of a contradiction) in the knowledge that at any time they can avail of the drugs. One gentleman in the audience (obviously known to the euthanasia advocate) spoke emotionally about the deteriorating physical condition of his wife, and about how he and she were agreed that at some point he would be willing to contribute to her death.
A number of brave people present, however, tackled Dr. Nietschke about what he is doing, but he didn’t like this at all and in fact became quite aggressive. At one point, when a palliative doctor in a Dublin hospice spoke about the care given to terminally-ill patients there, Dr. Nietschke laughed and said that she should realise that euthanasia is being widely practised in Ireland.
Euthanasia is illegal in Ireland, and numerous phone calls to the RTÉ television headquarters over last weekend emphasised this fact and also the horror that RTÉ should be responsible for giving publicity to a man who is actively involved in the killing of human beings.