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01 / 05 / 2009 - Pro-life activist says RTÉ hiding extreme views of euthanasia supporters
A pro-life activist who took part in protests against the recently-abandoned euthanasia lecture in Cork has said that RTÉ refused protestors a right to reply, and that the station, along with other media organs, were hiding Len Doyal's extreme views on the ending of life.
In a letter the RTÉ, Liam Ó Siocháin said that the recent Prime Time programme on euthanasia had attempted to gloss over Mr Doyal's unpalatable views. He also confirmed that RTÉ had refused members of the public who had been present at the euthanasia meeting an opportunity to state their position.
"The Irish Times and RTÉ’s Prime Time has afforded euthanasia supporter Professor Len Doyal ample opportunity to make his case. Perhaps they could have also asked him a few questions regarding his stance on involuntary euthanasia," said Mr Ó Síocháin.
"For example," he went on "Mr Doyal should have been asked to explain why he wrote in the Clinical Ethics Journal in June 2006, "What would be the moral point in expending such valuable resources [palliative care specialists] on severely incompetent patients whose best interests will be served by a quick and painless death?" Or why he further commentated that year that 'regulated, intentional active killing can have a proper place in good medical practice'".
And he warned that "The increasingly strident campaign being waged in Britain for the killing of the sick, the elderly and the vulnerable is downright alarming. This viewpoint sees some human beings, whether they are seriously ill, prematurely born, or very old, as a waste of resources. It especially places the elderly, the poor and premature or very ill babies in danger. That stance is, thankfully almost non-existent in Ireland, which makes the HSE decision to push ahead with the lecture in Cork all the more extraordinary."
The pro-life activist wrote: "I was one of many people who called Cork University Hospital (CUH) asking that the lecture be cancelled. I objected to my taxes being used to promote euthanasia, and pointed out that this was not a debate, it was a lecture on "Why Euthanasia should be legalised." In fact, so many people called the CUH that the HSE used a recorded message to deal with the large volume of callers.
"The taxpayer, and the fear and upset caused by this lecture, was ignored by the HSE. That was part of the reason why I attended the protest at CUH on Holy Thursday. But I had also recently experienced the loss of a dearly-loved family member to a long and debilitating illness. It made the HSE's promotion of euthanasia very real and personal. Many of the other protestors had experienced, or were experiencing, a similarly distressing situation."
"They were upset and angry, and they had a right to be. It's hard enough to cope with a terminal illness in the family, without the prospect of being told that the continued life of your baby, your wife or your mother is a "waste of resources"."
"The HSE have only themselves to blame for the cancellation of the lecture. They should now issue an apology to the people whom they have distressed unnecessarily by bringing a euthanasia campaigner to lecture health professionals," he concluded.