The mother of a child who suffers from catastrophic seizures arising out of an extreme form of epilepsy has said she is “ecstatic” that the Government has chosen not to block an Opposition Bill to legalise cannabis use for medicinal purposes.
Ava Barry (6) suffers from Dravet Syndrome and has multiple seizures every day. In recent months her condition has improved as she has started taking cannabis oil. However, her mother Vera Twomey fears that eventually she will need to change Ava's medication to a more potent form of cannabis which is not legal in Ireland.
This week Minister for Health Simon Harris confirmed he will facilitate a Bill put forward by People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny and allow it to progress to the committee stage in the Dáil. The Bill has already secured the support of Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, Labour, the Social Democrats, the Green Party and the Anti-Austerity Alliance.
Earlier this week Ms Twomey travelled to Brussels to meet cannabis legislation campaigner and MEP Luke "Ming" Flanagan. She also attended the Dáil for the debate on cannabis.
Ms Twomey, from Aghabullogue, Co Cork, said she is heartened by the progress to date.
"It is wonderful. It is fantastic. I met with Luke Flanagan in Brussels and we met with other campaigners from Croatia and the Czech Republic. It is all good news at the moment. Ava is doing okay. She is a bit sick but generally okay. We are looking forward to Christmas."
More potent than the drops
Ms Twomey’s concern is that in the long run her daughter will need the THC form of cannabis which is more potent than the drops Ava is currently on. Ultimately, her hope is that legislation will be passed so that Ava can simply go to a doctor for her prescription.
” Ava has a right to access medical marijuana in her own country. We want everyone on board helping Ava. The doctors should be able to prescribe CBD oil. There shouldn’t be this grey area of us relying on a shop in Dublin.”
Last month Ms Twomey started a walk to Dublin to raise awareness of her campaign for medicinal cannabis. She called off her walk after Mr Harris contacted her to set up a meeting.