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Order of Business

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Senator Katherine Zappone

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

I have two questions for the Leader, the first of which pertains to the Taoiseach's recent comments on the issue of assisted suicide and the fact he does not intend to legislate for it. First however, I pay tribute to Marie Fleming and her family, as other Deputies and Senators have done, and recognise her bravery and determination. However, acknowledging her situation and sympathising with her is different from looking at what Members, as legislators, can do regarding this issue of assisted suicide. I also note, in light of the concerns I raise today, that only today, her husband has been quoted as continuing to be deeply concerned about her deteriorating health. The Irish Human Rights Commission appeared as a friend in court in the case, highlighting a blurring in the case between the two distinct areas of assisted suicide and euthanasia. Assisted suicide differs from euthanasia in that the former is when a competent person makes a rational decision to end his or her own life and is assisted in so doing. Death is achieved through the final direction or actions of the deceased. In cases in which a mentally competent person is terminally ill and his or her quality of life is significantly diminished and that person takes the rational decision to end his or her life, he or she would not be breaking any laws. However, if such a person is unable to end his or her life because of a physical disability and requires assistance, the person assisting him or her would be committing an offence at present. Members are well aware the Supreme Court has indicated the rejection of Ms Fleming's case is not a bar to them legislating for such situations with appropriate safeguards. Consequently, I call for a debate with the Minister for Justice and Equality on the specific issue of assisted suicide.
I have referred to the subject of my second question previously, namely, the issue of corporate tax rates and Ireland's taxation policies for multinationals. I asked for a debate leading up to the G8 summit, at which Ireland will be in the spotlight in respect of its taxation policies and particularly with regard to how it can attract multinational companies here. Grant Thornton recently highlighted a variety of factors beyond our corporate tax rates, including our European Union membership and our English-speaking and highly educated workforce. This weekend, the chief executive of a Swiss pharma group expressed the view that even were we to raise our tax rate to 20%, there would not be a net loss of multinationals from the State since there are so many other attractive reasons to invest in Ireland. Given the pressure that is building up and in particular with regard to the brand of Ireland, I again seek a debate on this issue as soon as possible.