Councillor Michael O’Brien has reiterated his call for cannabis-based medical treatments to be made available in Ireland.
The local Independent councillor previously raised the motion at a meeting of Westmeath County Council last year, urging the council to open correspondence with the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, on the issue, but received little support.
Less than a week later a Bill supporting the legalisation of cannabis for medicinal purposes was passed in the Dáil, but was later rejected by the Oireachtas Health Committee.
Cllr O’Brien said it is “disgraceful” that Irish citizens, including local man Kenny Tynan, are being forced to look abroad for treatments they should be able to avail of at home, leaving their families and friends behind in the process.
He said if the defeated Bill is not legally sound then it needs to be looked at again and made so.
He added that the people who are travelling to countries in Europe are being treated like criminals in their own country, which is unacceptable.
He pointed to the fact that Vera Twomey’s daughter, Ava, is now seizure-free following her medicinal cannabis treatment in The Netherlands, after suffering up to 100 seizures a day at one point.
Cllr O’Brien said that if anyone in the chamber was to receive a diagnosis today they too would look into every available treatment that could improve their health.
Despite Cllr O’Brien’s passionate support for medicinal treatment, his fellow councillors delivered a mixed and less than enthusiastic response.
Mayor Aengus O’Rourke did say he is in favour of exploring anything from a medical perspective that could improve the quality of life of sufferers of illnesses such as cancer.
Cllr Frankie Keena said he could see where Cllr O’Brien was coming from, but that he would like to see more research done on the subject.
It was determined that a letter will be sent to Minister Harris on the issue.