Independent councillor Micheal O’Brien has urged the Government to advance legislation making medicinal cannabis legal in Ireland.
Cllr O’Brien has voiced his support for this topic in the past, first raising this motion at a Westmeath County Council meeting last year. He followed this by writing directly to Minister for Health, Simon Harris in July, 2017, calling on him to intervene to make medicinal cannabis legal.
“I think that it is totally unacceptable that people who are suffering from serious health issues are being deprived of accessing cannabis oil to help treat their illness,” he wrote at the time.
Writing on Facebook last week, Cllr O’ Brien said: “Over the past two years I’ve strongly advocated for the legalisation of medicinal cannabis. I know of many people suffering from serious illness who have taken medicinal cannabis oil to great effect. I think that it is totally unacceptable that people who are suffering from serious health issues are being deprived of accessing this to help treat their illness.
“I warmly welcomed the news that a Bill to legalise medicinal cannabis passed through the latest stage in the Dail towards the end of 2017, however, time is of the essence for thousands of sufferers that this treatment may help.”
The issue of medicinal cannabis has been at the forefront of public discussion of late, largely due to cases like Ava Twomey, who is now seizure-free following her medicinal cannabis treatment in The Netherlands, after suffering up to 100 seizures a day at one point. Locally, Kenny Tynan recently traveled to Spain in order to access the treatment to fight his cancer.
Ava’s mother Vera has been a strong supporter of this treatment and was recently granted a license to import medications from the Netherlands following a passionate campaign on behalf of her daughter. This came as a relief to Ms Twomey, who said the family cannot afford to pay up to €5,000 every three months for the medication her child needs.
Health Minister Mr Harris has said that the health department are working to establish an affordable, safe and reliable cannabis product for the Irish market. He has insisted that this issue still remains on the Dail’s agenda.
Mr O’Brien has urged people to lobby local and national public representatives to call for the legalisation of this medicine, as he believes it is the right decision for the country.