Dublin protest urges cannabis access for child epileptic

Ava Barry (7) gets medicinal cannabis in Netherlands in order to remain seizure-free

A rally in central Dublin is being held in support of seizure-sufferer Ava Barry (7) on Saturday afternoon calling on the Government to allow her access to cannabis treatment at home.

Ava, who has a rare and catastrophic form of epilepsy known as Dravet syndrome, has been receiving treatment in the Netherlands, where she has access to medicinal cannabis which keeps her previously-constant seizures at bay.

The rally, backed by People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny, saw a gathering of 120 people at the Garden of Remembrance ahead of proceeding into the city at 2pm.

Ava is the daughter of medicinal cannabis campaigner Vera Twomey, who has posted on Facebook on how the family are having to split their time between their Cork home and the Netherlands, as their other children are attending school. She says her daughter is remaining "seizure-free on medical CBD [cannabidiol] and THC [tetrahydocannabinol] in Holland".


A gofundme page set up by Ms Twomey in support of Ava has by Saturday afternoon raised €39,647 of a €50,000 target. The campaign is being run under the hashtag #bringavahome.

Ms Twomey has said: “We have tried all sorts of therapies – cranial sacral therapy, massage therapy, equine therapy, occupational therapy, you name it. Cannabis oil is all we have left but nobody will prescribe it.”

Dravet syndrome, also known as severe myoclonic epilepsy of infancy (SMEI), appears in infancy with frequent febrile seizures or fever-related seizures, according to Epilepsy Ireland. "Patients with Dravet syndrome can have febrile and other seizures severe enough to stunt mental and social development," the association website says.

Peter Smyth

Peter Smyth is a digital production journalist at The Irish Times