World Congress

for freedom of scientific research

REVIEWED! Freedom of research in IRELAND - Country report and synoptic table

03/23/2010

Ireland was surveyed by the students of Bryant University, RI, USA. Last update: March 2009. Any peer review of data is welcome. A special thanks to Med. Dr J. N. for her review of data concerning research on embryonic stem cells

Monitoring freedom of research and cure in IRELAND Table of content: A. Artificial reproduction technologies (ART) B. Research with human embryonic stem cells (hESC) C. End-of-life decisions D. Abortion and contraception Ireland has many Catholic values and their laws reflect their ethical and possibly religiously founded belief systems. Their laws represent a respect for human life and to never do anything that could harm that life. These values are the basis for many of the constraints to freedoms. Although there are many laws that limit freedoms that are often a hot topic in the United States, Ireland also lacks legislation that specifically addresses many of our questions. Overall Ireland is a very strict country and puts a lot of emphasis on the protection of a human life. If human life is the center of an issue, the decision will always be in the interest of the human life. It is also very obvious that Ireland is still modernizing their legal system to keep up with the complexities of modern day issues. We find that this is very evident in their lack of specific legislation and legal definitions for the purposes of our project. A. Artificial reproduction technologies (ART) Oocyte donation is strictly forbidden in Ireland. Along the same vein, it is practically impossible to get around the stringent laws for utilizing a surrogate mother. B. Research with human embryonic stem cells (hESC) In some areas however there is a lot more freedom, one example is stem cell research where the Irish Council for Bioethics supports this research as long as you are not creating embryos for this purpose only. (Remark no. 1: According to the UNESCO “Report of IBC on human cloning and international governance�? of June 2009, the Constitution of Ireland enacted on 1 July 1937 (Article 40 3° has been incorporated in the constitution in 1983) states that “the State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right�?. Comment by UNESCO: “There is no specific regulation on reproductive cloning in Ireland. Nonetheless, the illegality of this practice is not contradicted). (Remark no. 2: Med. Dr. J. N. informs that "there is no legislation prohibiting ESC research in Ireland. It would appear from the Recent High Court Judgement that ESC research is also not prohibited under the Irish Constitution. Further clarification will be forthcoming following a decision from the Supreme Court"). C. End-of-life decisions Euthanasia is also illegal. D. Abortion and contraception Abortion is strictly forbidden in Ireland. Another area that this touches upon is the freedom of purchasing contraceptives. They are free with a medical card but there is a catch: you need a prescription and they are only available from a family planning clinic; yet they can frequently be found for purchase in clubs and pub bathrooms without the needs for a prescription to attain them. Missing info on: E. Therapeutic uses of narcotic drugs F. Pain treatments

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