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.

A feminist analysis of the Neary and Halappanavar cases

in ethics as elsewhere (Walker, 2009: 5) Key to my analysis is a desire to understand the mechanisms by which the voices and concerns of the women at the centre of these two cases were ignored, marginalised and trivialised. I address each case in turn, paying particular attention to the way in which an excess of moral authority was vested in religious leaders, religious doctrine and doctors and a correlated lack of authority was invested in women patients and midwives. DONNELLY 9780719099465 PRINT.indd 9 12/10/2015 15:59 10 Context and care Unnecessary

in Ethical and legal debates in Irish healthcare

of care is borne by the caregiver alone or the charge fails to receive adequate care­– ­or both suffer’ (2001: 575). If we accept that we should care about carers then it is very important that we think about how we conceptualise the caring relationship. This is because how we think about the caring relationship will impact on what a reformed legal framework which recognises carers looks like and how it operates. As Nedelsky notes, ‘a relational self DONNELLY 9780719099465 PRINT.indd 41 12/10/2015 15:59 42 Context and care requires relational conceptions of

in Ethical and legal debates in Irish healthcare

which, or as a result of which, an unborn human life is ended’. DONNELLY 9780719099465 PRINT.indd 25 12/10/2015 15:59 26 Context and care Bearers of critical consciousness The grounding of the right to CO in critical consciousness is an important factor in understanding why CO usually ought not apply to corporate persons (Sepper, 2012; 2013; Corbin, 2014). Although institutions may indeed have an ethos or a code of ethics, this is a matter of fact and results from a group’s adoption of certain principles and values as that ethos. Ethos in this descriptive sense

in Ethical and legal debates in Irish healthcare
Abstract only

practice backgrounds in ethics, law and medicine. From these conversations, it became clear that the Irish health system is confronted by a range of challenges, both emerging and recurring, and that, because the system is fluid and dynamic, these cannot be DONNELLY 9780719099465 PRINT.indd 2 12/10/2015 15:59 Introduction 3 resolved by simple or one-­dimensional solutions. This understanding informs the chapters in this book. The book has four parts, organised around four interlinking themes: context and care; rights and responsibilities; regulating research; and

in Ethical and legal debates in Irish healthcare