A 43-year-old Dublin woman has gone on trial charged with assisting the suicide of another woman almost four years ago.

Gail O'Rorke, from Kilclare Gardens in Tallaght, has denied assisting the suicide of Bernadette Forde between 10 March and 6 June 2011.

Ms O'Rorke faces three charges, including one of attempting to assist in a suicide by making arrangements for Ms Forde to travel to Switzerland.

She is also charged with aiding and abetting a suicide by assisting to procure and administer a toxic substance and a third charge of procuring a suicide by making funeral arrangements before Ms Forde's death.

She has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

When the jury was sworn last week members of the jury panel were told that anyone who felt they could not approach the case without bias or prejudice on the issue of assisting a suicide should not serve on the jury.

Counsel for the prosecution Remy Farrell told the jury Ms O'Rorke is charged under the Criminal Law (Suicide) Act, which was introduced in 1993.

He said this act decriminalised the act of suicide, but there was a peculiarity in the law.

He said this was one of those rare offences where it is an offence to assist someone to do a particular act when the act itself is not an offence.

He told the jury the case involved a 51-year-old woman, Ms Forde, who was diagnosed in 2001 with progressive multiple sclerosis.

Her condition was compounded by a car accident in 2008 which left her wheelchair bound.

He said because of her condition she was facing the bleak prospect of losing mobility and bodily function and the prospect of a distressing and difficult death.

He said the jury would be in no doubt that Ms Forde had made the decision to end her life and had told her family about this. She ended her life between 5 and 6 June 2011.

Ms O'Rorke was a part-time carer and friend to Ms Forde and the prosecution says she assisted in that suicide.

Mr Farrell said they would hear evidence that Ms Forde had planned to travel to Zurich to end her own life and the travel arrangements had been made with the help of Ms O'Rorke.

However the plan was abandoned when the gardaí were notified by the travel agent.

Mr Farrell said after the intervention of the gardaí, Ms O'Rorke could not have been in any doubt about the law relating to assisting a suicide.

He said it was the prosecution's case that she later assisted Ms Forde to procure medication to end her life.

The medication was ordered from Mexico over the internet and Ms O'Rorke made the payment and was present when the package was delivered, the prosecution claims.

Mr Farrell said Ms Forde was acutely aware that Ms O'Rorke might get into trouble for her involvement so she made sure she was nowhere near her on the day she ended her life.

She had arranged for Ms O'Rorke to spend the night in a hotel in Kilkenny.

He said by placing herself offside, Ms O'Rorke had ensured Ms Forde was in a position to take the medication.

He said the jury would hear the last words of Ms Forde, who had recorded her suicide note on a dictaphone as she was physically unable to write due to her condition.

Mr Farrell told the jury they may hold strong views about the subject of assisted suicide and medical intervention.

However, he said this trial was not a forum for such debate.

He said the jury would be expected to leave their personal views at the door and try the case in accordance with the evidence and not in accordance with their personal views. 

One of Ms Forde's neighbours, Elizabeth Cremin, said she had known of Ms Forde's plan to end her life.  

She said Ms Forde had asked her to sit with her while she did this but she refused because she didn't have the courage and knew it would be illegal.

However, she said she would help "as far as the law would allow". 

Ms Cremin said she got a call from Ms O'Rorke on 6 June 2011 asking her to check on Ms Forde as she could not contact her.

She said the call was not completely a surprise as she knew of Ms Forde's intentions to leave this world.

As the chair of the residents' association in Morehampton Mews in Donnybrook she had a key to the property and let herself in.

She said Ms Forde was in her wheelchair and looked as if she was asleep, but because of her pallor she knew it was more serious.

She then contacted gardaí.

A tape recording of the last words of Bernadette Forde was played to the jury this afternoon.

There were emotional scenes in court as the jury heard Ms Forde outline how she can no longer continue to suffer due to her medical condition and makes clear that she had made the decision to end her life.

She also describes how she was prevented from travelling to Zurich after the intervention of gardaí because she did not want Ms O’Rorke or her nephew to get into trouble for travelling with her.

Ms Forde repeatedly expresses her frustration with the law in what she described as "this bloody country" and her inability to travel to Zurich.

Of Ms O’Rorke she said: "They weren't actually assisting they were just going to travel with me to Zurich but anyway when I realised that was happening I no longer wanted that because I didn't want Gail or anyone harmed if they were going to get into trouble for it... but I knew what I need to do I can't, I just can't live with this anymore, it is just my life is s*** and I just can’t keep going."

She also describes how she cannot even talk to anyone about her decision due to a fear of implicating them and said she had to do everything alone.

"I realised that I had to do whatever I did alone that I can't even talk to anyone in case they are implicated because I have no help at all now and it is very difficult that I can't even talk to anyone but the first thing I did was to go online and see what help I could get...

"I had seen a programme on the Late Late and online I found the Exit International website and started looking up from that what I could do and I eventually managed to get hold of this stuff from Mexico and I was able to order it online and it was delivered by courier to me but that took over two weeks to get here and it is just so difficult that you know I just can't do any of this again or anymore and like I said hiding it from friends has been difficult and it is just so unfair that I can’t contact or chat to anyone that I have to be totally alone."

She also said her "writing is very bad so a suicide note might not be possible and I hope that it will make my wishes, my intentions clear to anyone to anyone who wants to question it afterwards because it is me and totally me and nobody else and I'm frustrated that it has to be this way you know why the fact in Ireland... and I couldn't get to Dignitas where it could all be done, you know".

She continued: "Em, I just need to say that I have a real frustration and problem with the fact that withdrawals or cheques were made from my account was totally at my request and I'm really frustrated that there could be any question mark about them afterwards because what do I do?

"I'm housebound and I asked a friend to help and I couldn’t believe that there might be question marks about that...

"I got my solicitor to come out [for] another visit to my house to help me through this to tell me what was and wasn't legal because I don't want either Gail my friend who did things at my request or my sister Catherine who I wanted to give a couple of bob to out of my account what use is it that I can’t access my money it is just not fair that questions may be asked so I just want to say there should not be a question mark because it is what I wanted and what else can I do so I'm sorry but again it is just... I don’t know this... I have to say this bloody country so anyway that is it. Thank you."

The case is expected to run for two weeks.