• Dying with Dignity Bill 
  • Legal and Ethical Issues 
  • Withdrawing treatment

A one-day conference

Live Virtual Event 

Date: 3rd March 2021

The law in regards to caring for vulnerable adults, adolescents, end of life care patients and children is rapidly changing and evolving in Ireland and it is important that all healthcare and legal professionals fully understand recent developments in relation to Advance Healthcare Directives, the Dying with Dignity Bill and Palliative care ethics.

This one-day conference will provide an important opportunity for delegates to hear from leading experts and discuss important current developments you need to note going forward. This conference will also provide you with the opportunity to exchange ideas, hear of recent cases that are setting a precedent going forward and listen to others who are working in this area, their experiences and come away with best methods to implement for patients going forward.


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CPD Certified

This event will be of real interest to all healthcare professionals who deal with vulnerable adults, children and adolescents, nurses, directors of nursing, carers, consultants, legal representatives and those who deal with end of life care to name just a few.

Full Day Programme 

Opening Remarks & Conference Chair

Dr Elizabeth Fahey McCarthy, RN, RM, RNT, MAEd, Professional Education Consultant

Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

Speaker: Nicola Saarsteiner, Barrister-at-Law, The Law Library

  • Ireland’s Constitutional and Legislative Framework
  • Irish Case Law
  • The Law in Practice
  • The position in other Jurisdictions
Dying with Dignity Bill

Speaker: Aisling Mulligan BCL (Phil), B.L Barrister at the Law Library, Four Courts

  • What’s in the Dying with Dignity Bill?
  • The Safeguards – To ensure a person is qualified to make a decision to end their own life
  • What do advocates of assisted dying say?
  • What are the arguments against assisted dying?
  • Legal Case examples
Children and Consent: Clinical and end of life issues

Speaker: Catherine Ghent, Partner, Gallagher Shatter Solicitors

  • Guardianship in Irish Law
  • Consent – Supreme Court judgment in J.J.
  • The Competent Minor- the Fraser Guidelines and their application in Ireland
  • How do we ensure that the best interest of the child remains paramount when making medical decisions for children with exceptional healthcare needs/palliative care needs at end-of-life?
  • How to balance the best interests of the child with the interests of the family and community.
Preserving the centrality of the person’s will and preference – A case for Advance Healthcare Directives

Speaker: Caoimhe Gleeson, National Programme Manager, HSE Office for Human Rights and Equality Policy

  • What is Advance Decision Making?
  • Why advance plan?
  • What methods are available?
  • Some considerations
  • What are Advance Healthcare Directives?
  • Provisions in Irish Law and Policy
  • Some considerations
Withdrawing treatment from patients with incurable illnesses

Speaker: Dr. Shaun O Keeffe Consultant Geriatrician at Galway University Hospital

  • Withholding vs Withdrawing
  • Ethical dilemmas in treatment withdrawal
  • Presumption of capacity- who can make the decision to withdraw/withhold treatment
  • Communication surrounding treatment withdrawal
End of life decisions regarding persons with dementia: autonomy, best interests and ethics

Speaker: Ciaran Craven, SC

  • Promoting human rights and enhancing autonomy in the context of caring for persons with dementia
  • Ethical decision-making in end-of-life care
  • Complex decisions involving persons with dementia: resuscitation and clinically-assisted nutrition and hydration
Palliative Sedation

Speaker: Dr Sarah McClean, Specialist in Palliative Care Medicine, St Vincent’s Private Hospital

  • What is Palliative Sedation?
  • Ethical Principles Involved
    • Beneficence
    • Non-Maleficence
    • Principle of Double Effect
  • The Decision-Making Process
Advance care planning in palliative care – from an ethics perspective

Speaker: Louise Campbell, Lecturer, NUI Galway

  • Patient rights and the ethical importance of ACP
  • New guidance relating to DNA-CPR and ACP
  • Ethically-competent approaches to ACP: where, when, how?
  • Patient perspectives on ACP


Aisling Mulligan Aisling Mulligan BL

Barrister-At-Law, The Law Library

Aisling Mulligan BL is a practising barrister in the areas of Public Health and Social Care.

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She holds a masters from the Royal College of Surgeons in Healthcare ethics and Law, having graduated from UCD with a Bachelor of Civil Law with a minor in philosophy. Aisling has a particular interest in “incapacity” and its effects on the rights of patient autonomy. Her area of speciality relates to the provision of services for those who lack capacity within the healthcare, education and residential services.

Caoimhe Gleeson Caoimhe Gleeson

National Programme Manager, HSE Office for Human Rights and Equality Policy.

Caoimhe Gleeson is the National Programme Lead for Assisted Decision Making in the HSE. The HSE National ADM programme was established to prepare staff and services for the commencement of the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015.

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This work includes the development of guidance on the 2015 Act for health and social care staff, overseeing the drafting of the Codes on Advance Healthcare Directives on behalf of the Minister for Health, assessing the impact the 2015 Act will have on health and social care staff and service delivery, and the development of a suite of education and training tools. She is also National Specialist in Accessibility and has worked in the area of equality and human rights advocacy, policy and service development for a number of years in Ireland in relation to people with disabilities, the LGBTI Community and other diverse groups. She is also an accredited mediator within the HSE.
Before joining the H.S.E. she worked in Community Development with NUI, Galway in partnership with a wide variety of agencies and non-governmental organisations in the North West region of the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland.

Elizabeth Fahey McCarthy Elizabeth Fahey McCarthy

Professional Education Consultant

Elizabeth Fahey McCarthy PhD, has extensive experience in Nursing and Nurse Education. Nursing experience includes general and paediatric nursing originally and in later years generalist palliative care and care of the older person to include expertise in dementia care.

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. Teaching experience has always been integral within her nursing experience. In America and England she held clinical and educational posts concurrently. This enhanced her teaching experience as she was also immersed in a cinical case load. In America her work was voluntary at a Centre for HIV/ AIDS. In the UK her work was divided between Health Promotion and the NHS. Elizabeth’s post was as a Senior Nurse Manager at ADoN level, providing education, testing, counselling and on-going co-ordination of care for persons with HIV/AIDS in Buckinghamshire. Co-ordinating care to die at home was a priority and so working with Specialist Palliative care was central to the role. On return to Ireland she returned to a full-time academic career in nurse Education with TCD. Elizabeth’s teaching and Research interests are in Reflective Learning and Practice, Bioethics, Palliative and End-of life Care.

There will be CPD certificates awarded to attendees at this conference. Please check directly with your association or awarding body to see how many points they will award



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