Belfast Telegraph

Euthanasia guru’s planned visit to Belfast cancelled

By Lisa Smyth

An event due to be held in Belfast by a controversial euthanasia rights campaigner — including the display of a machine that helps a person end their life — has been cancelled.

Dr Philip Nitschke, dubbed ‘Dr Death’ for his efforts to have euthanasia legalised, was due to hold the information event at the Community Arts Forum today.

But Heather Floyd from the centre said the event was cancelled as they did not believe the venue was suitable.

Dr Nitschke, who helped four people die when euthanasia was briefly legalised in Australia, was due to carry out a demonstration on his new ‘deliverance voluntary euthanasia machine’.

Ms Floyd said: “The first we heard about the death machine was through a Press release that was sent to us. After careful consideration we decided our venue was not suitable for such an event.

“We also felt it was not suitable for something of this nature.”

A spokeswoman from the Department of Justice confirmed that Justice Minister David Ford informed the police about the event — but it is believed the PSNI could not stop the event from going ahead.

A PSNI spokeswoman said: “In general, where police receive a report about a suspected criminal offence we will carry out inquiries to establish if there are any relevant offences.”

A spokesman for Dr Nitschke said he was disappointed at the decision to cancel the event.

“Dr Nitschke was going through the process of how the machine works. The machine does not require anyone to use it. He was not looking for a volunteer to lose their life,” he said.

The visit to Belfast was part of a tour of UK and Ireland holding ‘Safe Exit Workshops’. The first event went ahead as planned in Dublin on Thursday.

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