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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 Warnock, embryos and moral expertise
Duncan Wilson

not ‘prove or otherwise show conclusively that one view is to be preferred to another’.206 Warnock claimed that such disagreement was ‘unavoidable’ as pluralistic societies lacked ‘an agreed set of principles which everyone, or the majority, or any representative person believes to be absolutely binding’.207 It followed from this, she argued, that no one field or approach should dominate ethical oversight and decision-making. Warnock encapsulated this position in the afterword to a popular edition of her committee’s report, where she argued that: In matters of life

in The making of British bioethics