Minister for Health announces public consultation on legislating for “living wills”

Submissions Sought on the Draft General Scheme for Advance Healthcare Directives for Incorporation into the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill 2013

The Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly TD, today announced the commencement of a public consultation on the draft General Scheme of legislative provisions for advance healthcare directives to be incorporated into the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill 2013. The publication of the draft General Scheme for the purposes of the public consultation was approved by the Government on Tuesday, 4th February 2014.

Making the announcement, Minister Reilly said: “Advance healthcare directives represent an important means by which people can exercise their autonomy, which is an integral component of a patient-focused model of healthcare”.

“Given that there is currently no specific legislation pertaining to advance healthcare directives in Ireland, incorporating provisions for advance healthcare directives into the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill 2013 represents an efficient and practical method of consolidating the law in this area”, he continued.

“I would encourage interested parties to participate in this consultation process which my Department has now commenced”, he concluded.

Advance healthcare directives (sometimes referred to as living wills) are statements made by adults with capacity setting out their wishes in relation to the type and extent of medical treatments they would or would not want to receive in anticipation of future incapacity to make decisions.

In line with the principles of non-discrimination and equality before the law, as outlined in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the legislative provisions for advance healthcare directives provide a single legislative framework, encompassing both general healthcare and mental healthcare.

The Consultation Process

consultation discussion document is available online at It sets out the draft General Scheme and some structured questions to help interested parties focus their submissions. Submissions should be no more than ten pages and can be submitted by e-mail to or by post to

Bioethics Unit
Department of Health
Room 8.33
Hawkins House
Hawkins Street
Dublin 2


The closing date for submissions is Friday 7th March 2014 and will be strictly adhered to. All submissions received will be subject to the Freedom of Information Acts 1997 & 2003 and may be released in response to a Freedom of Information request.

Note for Editors

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