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Talk in Cork on euthanasia

Posted in Legal issues on April 20th, 2009 by steve

Ireland“Madam, – While the recent discussion about the rights or wrongs of the cancellation of this talk is important, this talk was still under the auspices of the HSE and Cork University Hospital. The role of the HSE is to provide care for the most vulnerable in the State, not to promote the antithesis of that role by allowing ‘lectures’ entitled: ‘Why Euthanasia should be legalised’! The fact that Prof. Doyal advocates this most obnoxious practice in order to save money and free up beds is disgusting to say the least. Imagine the outcry if this lecture was on the rights of allowing rape or child abuse! …” (more)

[John McCallion, Irish Times, 20 April]

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‘Euthanasia’ professor tells president that mob’s behaviour was ‘tragic for Ireland’

Posted in Legal issues on April 20th, 2009 by steve

Ireland“The British medical professor who was prevented from delivering a lecture on euthanasia in Cork on Holy Thursday has written to President Mary McAleese to complain about his treatment. Prof Len Doyal, who holds posts in medical ethics in the universities of London and East Anglia, also claims gardaí did nothing to stop the protestors who violently forced the lecture at Cork University Hospital to be abandoned. Doyal was invited to speak at the hospital’s ethic forum’s annual lecture, but before he could begin, an angry mob entered the auditorium. Writing to McAleese, Doyal outlined what happened …” (more)

[Michael Clifford, Tribune, 19 April]

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Academic complains to President

Posted in Legal issues on April 18th, 2009 by steve

Ireland“The American-born academic whose attempt to deliver a lecture about euthanasia was disrupted by protesters in Cork on Thursday night has written to President Mary McAleese complaining about his treatment. Prof Len Doyal, emeritus professor of medical ethics at Queen Mary, University of London, and a proponent of euthanasia, was also critical of the Garda in his letter. He had been due to address an audience at Cork University Hospital as part of a lecture series organised by the hospital’s ethics committee last week. The talk was cancelled after protesters voiced their opposition and Prof Doyal was escorted from the auditorium by hospital security personnel …” (more)

[Mary Minihan, Irish Times, 18 April]

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‘Religious zealots’ at CUH euthanasia lecture slated

Posted in Legal issues on April 16th, 2009 by steve

Ireland“Protesters who forced the cancellation of a controversial euthanasia lecture have been branded ‘religious zealots’ whose actions should be condemned. Fianna Fáil city councillor Terry Shannon launched the blistering attack, after proposing the city council pass a vote of congratulations to the Cork University Hospital (CUH) Ethics Forum which organised the lecture. He branded ‘disgraceful’ the actions of the angry group which heckled and jeered senior British medical ethics expert Professor Len Doyal at CUH last Thursday night …” (more)

[Eoin English, Irish Examiner, 16 April]

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Free speech and euthanasia

Posted in Legal issues on April 15th, 2009 by steve

Ireland“On Thursday 9th April I headed off to CUH to attend the scheduled yet controversial lecture entitled Why Euthanasia should be Legalised by Professor Len Doyle. I was a few minutes late having enjoyed the spring walk and arrived to discover a very tense and unpleasant atmosphere coming from the auditorium. I was advised not to enter because the room had been taken over by an angry crowd of protesters who had intimidated the speaker into silence. I could hear for myself calls of ‘murderer’ and ‘Nazi’ coming from the room, as people who had attended to hear out the Professor quietly left looking shaken and upset. Within ten minutes the protesters had the auditorium to themselves; they were happily shouting about their own views and saying the rosary. I have seen many protests, and would support anyone’s right to protest against those things that they disagree with but that right to protest needs to be balanced against others right to free speech …” (more)

[Fiona Donson, CCJHR Blog, 15 April]

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Cancellation of euthanasia talk

Posted in Legal issues on April 15th, 2009 by steve

Ireland“Michael O’Driscoll’s letter (April 13th) unfairly dismisses euthanasia as a threat to society akin to child abuse or infanticide. To presume that life must be extended to its unnatural limits – simply for the sake of preservation – makes little sense and is certainly not humane. No one would seriously suggest that we encourage people to end their lives, but that is not the purpose or effect of euthanasia. Systems can be put in place to allow people who are of sound mind to make decisions for their own reasons without outside pressure. Euthanasia is not about killing sick people but rather about allowing individuals to control their own passing. Murder is a reprehensible act, but no more so than forcing people to struggle on in pain and depression simply because we feel they should …” (more)

[Conor Malone, Irish Times, 15 April]

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Speaking freely

Posted in Legal issues on April 14th, 2009 by steve

Ireland“Many years ago, when I was an undergraduate student, I attended a debate at an Irish university. One of the speakers that night was to be a British politician who was a supporter of the former Conservative (and just turned Unionist) Enoch Powell. Just as the politician in question rose to speak, a group of students jumped up and started shouting, ‘no free speech for Fascists!’. This went on with rising volume, and in the end the man was unable to begin his speech, and the debate ended in confusion. The group concerned – which I believe (though I may be misremembering this) was organised by the ‘Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist-Leninist)’ – expressed itself satisfied. Different cause, same tactics: as many will know, a UK academic, Professor Len Doyal, was recently prevented from delivering a speech during a debate at the UCC university hospital in Cork by a small group of protesters, who objected to his support for euthanasia …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 14 April]

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Cancellation of euthanasia talk

Posted in Legal issues on April 13th, 2009 by steve

Ireland“Madam, – The cancellation of the lecture on euthanasia in Cork University Hospital last week is to be welcomed. A society which has lost its sense of outrage is effectively morally dead. Thankfully, as was demonstrated on Thursday, Irish people still possess a moral compass and an instinct for when the most fundamental values in society are under threat. The HSE defended its invitation by arguing that it is only interested in stimulating debate. Evidently then the HSE believes that euthanasia may have some merit: otherwise, why bother to debate it? …” (more)

[Michael O Driscoll, Irish Times, 13 April]

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The euthanasia debate must not be hijacked by zealots

Posted in Legal issues on April 12th, 2009 by steve

Ireland“They entered the auditorium shouting about murder and Hitler. They claimed to be advocates of the old and the sick. They purport to represent the sacredness of life, keepers of the flame in a world obsessed with killing. They were out in force last Thursday evening in Cork University Hospital. Around 50 of these protestors violently brought to a halt an attempt to discuss the issue of euthanasia …” (more)

[Michael Clifford, Tribune, 12 April]

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Euthanasia protesters ‘attacked free speech’

Posted in Legal issues on April 12th, 2009 by steve

Ireland“Pro-life demonstrators have been accused of a blatant attack on free speech after the controversial abandonment of a medical debate on euthanasia. The outspoken British doctor, Prof Len Doyal, had to receive a private security escort from Cork University Hospital’s lecture theatre amid concerns for his safety after a heated protest threatened to spiral out of control. Such was the controversy over the proposed public debate on euthanasia or the voluntary ending of life that it sparked an angry denouncement from the Bishop of Cork & Ross Dr John Buckley — and also triggered an angry row in the Seanad. Gardai were ultimately called to CUH last Thursday — but did not intervene — after repeated attempts by the lecture chairman, Prof Eamon Quigley, to restore order failed …” (more)

[Ralph Riegal, Independent, 12 April]

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Congratulations

Posted in Legal issues on April 12th, 2009 by steve

Ireland“It was a great honour to be in Cork on Maundy Thursday night to voice opposition to Professor Len Doyal, a proponent of both of voluntary and involuntary euthanasia. His lecture in Cork was cancelled. He saw at first hand that the people of Ireland are opposed to euthanasia. Euthanasia like abortion is not a matter for debate. On behalf of all who work on this blog, I would like to thank Youth Defence and Mother & Child Campaign for organising a successful protest …” (more)

[Thought and Action, 11 April]

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Another hecklers’ veto; another failure of freedom of expression on campus

Posted in Legal issues on April 10th, 2009 by steve

Ireland“… As I have argued here before, to ensure that hecklers do not have a veto, those who organise such controversial events must ensure that the controversial speakers actually have the opportunity to speak. Unsurprisingly, the lecture has been a source of controversy for quite some time, so the organisers’ failure to make appropriate arrangements is almost as culpable as the hecklers’ veto. Cary Nelson, President of the American Association of University Professors, explains why controversial speakers, even monsters, should be able to speak on campus …” (more)

[Cearta, 9 April]

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Rosary-chanting protesters force euthanasia talk to be abandoned

Posted in Governance and administration on April 10th, 2009 by steve

Ireland“A controversial euthanasia lecture was abandoned amid chaotic scenes last night while a senior British medical ethics expert had a private security escort for his own protection. Prof Len Doyal was visibly shaken after his lecture on euthanasia couldn’t even commence after he was heckled and jeered by more than 20 angry pro-life protesters who had taken up position in the Cork University Hospital (CUH) lecture theatre. Protesters, some from the right-wing Youth Defence group, shouted that euthanasia was State-sponsored murder – and dozens began loudly chanting the Rosary …” (more)

[Ralph Riegel and Senan Hogan, Independent, 10 April]

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