herald

Wednesday 26 July 2017

Mum of sick girl (7) has cannabis medication taken away at airport

Vera Twomey leaves Dublin Airport with her daughter’s prescription for medical cannabis, which was confiscated
Vera Twomey leaves Dublin Airport with her daughter’s prescription for medical cannabis, which was confiscated

The ban on medicinal cannabis in Ireland is "the lowest form of cruelty", says a mother who had legally prescribed drugs for her daughter confiscated at Dublin Airport.

Vera Twomey arrived at the airport yesterday carrying a three-month supply of THC medicine, which contains cannabis, that had been prescribed for her daughter Ava (7) by a consultant in Barcelona.

Vera travelled to the Spanish city to gain access to the medicinal cannabis under prescription to treat her daughter's seizures.

Cruelty

Ava suffers from Dravet syndrome, which can cause her to have hundreds of seizures each month, despite the use of conventional medications.

"The medicine was taken away from me when I arrived," Vera said.

"I told the customs officials I had it. The officials were sympathetic but the ban in Ireland on this medicine is the lowest form of cruelty.

"If I was a parent in Spain, Germany, Italy, Canada, Poland, or in 30 states of the US, I would be allowed to give my daughter this medication."

She travelled to Barcelona to see a specialist, who had examined Ava's medical files and assessed her on Skype.

She was joined by People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny and Independent MEP Luke 'Ming' Flanagan, who accompanied her as a public show of support.

They made a video before the flight back to Dublin about the purpose of the trip and posted it on Facebook.

"I did no wrong. I wasn't going to hide it and come through the airport like some sleeveen. I told the officials I had the medication," Vera said.

She is continuing to use a herbal treatment for Ava, which had much better results than medicines approved in Ireland.

Mr Kenny said Health Minister Simon Harris has forced families like Vera's into desperate measures in order to access medicinal cannabis.

The TD said that it was terrible that the Government and Mr Harris had forced her into taking the trip.

"It's ludicrous that, in the 21st century, this is happening, where people like Vera Twomey have to travel abroad to gain access to vital medication for their loved ones," he said.

Expose

"In this case people have been propelled to expose bad laws in order to make good laws for the greater good.

"The bill which I put forward, Cannabis For Medicinal Use 2016, which got cross-party support last December, would give broad-based access to cannabis for medicinal use, on the recommendation of a doctor.

"People suffering from illness such as chronic pain, MS, intractable epilepsy and other conditions could benefit tremendously from using medicinal cannabis in helping to alleviate some of their symptoms and pain."

However, the legislation planned by Mr Harris is "extremely restrictive", he added.

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