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Confronting complexities

The Irish health system is confronted by a range of challenges, both emerging and recurring. In order to address these, it is essential that spaces are created for conversations around complex ethical and legal issues. This collection aims to provide a basis for ongoing engagement with selected issues in contemporary Irish health contexts. It includes contributions from scholars and practitioners across a range of disciplines, most particularly, ethics, law and medicine.

The focus of the collection is interdisciplinary and the essays are situated at the intersection between ethics, law and medicine. Important issues addressed include admission to care homes; assisted suicide; adolescent decision-making; allocation of finite resources; conscientious objection; data protection; decision-making at the end of life; mental health; the rights of older people; patient responsibilities; stem cell research; the role of carers; and reproductive rights. From these discussion, the collection draws out the following interlinking themes, addressing difference; context and care; oversight and decision-making; and, regulating research.

The essays are theoretically informed and are grounded in the realities of the Irish health system, by drawing on contributors’ contextual knowledge.

This book makes an informed and balanced contribution to academic and broader public discourse.

Mary Keys

of admission to care homes. The Supreme Court in EH v. St Vincent’s Hospital [2009] IESC 46 (as followed by the High Court in MK v. Clinical Director of St Patrick’s University Hospital [2013] IEHC 409) found that voluntary patients in psychiatric units, who are also not entitled to safeguards under the Mental Health Act 2001, are not deprived of their liberty in a situation of informal detention. In considering the relevance of these decisions to people who are informally detained in nursing homes, it is important to consider the particular facts of these cases

in Ethical and legal debates in Irish healthcare