NewsCrime Desk

Gardai probe Christian death threats made to right to die campaigner

Kate Tobin
Kate Tobin

Gardai are investigating threats to kill a woman who is campaigning for the right to die.

Waterford woman Kate Tobin (50), who currently lives in Clonroche, Co. Wexford, was left terrified after receiving a series of threatening phone calls earlier this month.

The former nun suffers from multiple sclerosis and has been a vocal campaigner for the right to die and gardai are probing whether a pro-life activist was behind the threats

The caller made reference to her right-to-die campaign when he threatened to take her life.

Kate said he called her mobile from an unknown number at around 9am on the first occasion. 

“It was the same person. He was ringing up and saying things like: ‘We’ll end your life. We know where you live. We know you’re sick. We’re coming to get you. We can put you out of your misery. Watch your door, we could be there and you wouldn’t know.’

 “There was heavy breathing as well. It was very frightening.”

Kate said she was left completely shook by the threats.

Gardaí have launched an investigation into the incident.

“It happened three times. Gardaí are investigating and monitoring my mobile calls. They ring me to make sure I’m alright and come out to the house. They come in and make sure I’m alright.”

Kate said she has no idea who made the calls, but said she has been harassed by religious fanatics angry over her campaigning for the right to die.

“When I said I want the right to die I had people bring me prayer cards. One woman insisted I call the Samaritans as if I was going to do it that night. 

“One person said they were going to get a seventh son of a seventh son to heal me. Then there was a man who claimed to be able to heal with oil.

“I got all those things. It was like I just had a bad cold.

“It’s very frustrating. These people don’t know the disease I’ve got. I’m going to die from my disease. It’s not something you can cure.”

People also post her letters and holy water and tell her the campaign is wrong and not what God wants.

Kate formerly worked as a hospice nurse and cancer nurse and saw the end of life on many occasions. 

She was first diagnosed with MS four years ago and came to the decision that when it gets worse she wants to die with dignity on her own terms.

While Waterford TD John Halligan is putting forward a private member’s bill on the matter, Kate is not optimistic political leaders will have any appetite to grant the right to die.

“For years I’ve been asking Enda Kenny (pictured left) to come and see me and try living a few hours in my life. He wouldn’t last with falls, incontinence, taking 50 tablets a day and everything else.

“Even things like carrying a cup of tea are impossible.

“Enda Kenny hasn’t taken me up on his offer and I don’t imagine he will.”

Kate has also faced criticism for trying to raise money to pay for her funeral costs.

She had saved the money, but then had to spend it adapting her home to her needs and now finds herself heavily in debt.

“People are saying ‘she wants to die, what does she want money for?’ I’d like the money to pay for my funeral. I want to get back to west Waterford to be buried with my parents.”


Last year Dublin woman Gail O’Rorke shed tears of relief after a jury acquitted her of trying to help a friend kill herself.

She was accused of attempting to assist the suicide of her friend, Bernadette Forde, who suffered from MS, by making travel arrangements to the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland in 2011.

The booking was cancelled when the travel agent contacted Gardaí over concerns about its legality.

Bernadette subsequently ended her life with a lethal overdose.

Another MS sufferer, Marie Fleming, from Wicklow, took a legal battle to the High Court and subsequently the Supreme Court to challenge the ban on assisted suicide, but was unsuccessful in the case.

Marie passed away in December 2013.

Anyone looking to donate to Kate’s fund can contact her at 40 Sli on Uisce, Clonroche, Co. Wexford.