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Donegal born ‘Right-to-die’ campaigner Marie Fleming passes away

The late Marie Fleming.

The late Marie Fleming.

DONEGAL-born Marie Fleming, who lost a landmark Supreme Court right-to-die challenge earlier this year, has passed away overnight.

The 59-year-old for UCD lecturer had multiple sclerosis and as the latter stages of the illness took hold she was confined to a wheelchair, required 24-hour care and found it increasingly difficult to talk.

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Ms Fleming, who had been diagnosed with the disease in 1989, took a highly-publicised Supreme Court right-to-die case in April.

Physically unable to end her own life, she wanted her partner, Mr Tom Curran, to help her without fear of prosecution.

Ms Fleming had asked the court for orders allowing her be lawfully helped take her own life at a time of her choosing so as to avoid what she fears will be a distressing and undignified death.

She argued, in her very particular circumstances, the blanket ban on assisted suicide in Section 2.2 of the Criminal Law Suicide Act 1993 breached her personal rights under the Constitution and ECHR.

The State contended, while the ban may be unfair to Ms Fleming, it was a justified and proportionate measure necessary to protect vulnerable people from involuntary death.

The Supreme Court ruled against her, finding that there was no constitutional right to die or to be assisted to do so.

However, the court said there was nothing to prevent the introduction of legislation to deal with cases such as that of Ms Fleming.

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