Sunday 11 December 2016

Medicinal cannabis call for terminally ill boy

Published 10/11/2016 | 02:30

Ronan Gaynor (4) who suffers from DIPG, a terminal brain tumour. His parents are campaigning for the legalisation of medicinal cannabis.
Ronan Gaynor (4) who suffers from DIPG, a terminal brain tumour. His parents are campaigning for the legalisation of medicinal cannabis.

The father of a terminally ill boy has urged Health Minister Simon Harris to speed up a review of the use of medicinal cannabis.

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Ronan Gaynor (4) has a rare type of brain tumour and his father Mark says medicinal cannabis could ease his symptoms and the serious pain he suffers.

He was speaking as ­Dublin AAA-PBP TD Gino Kenny launched his Bill seeking the regulation of cannabis for ­medicinal use.

Mr Harris has begun a review of the policy on medicinal cannabis that will be conducted with "best clinical advice and expertise", but it's not due to be completed until early next year.

Ronan has Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) and after a course of radiotherapy has been taking Cannabidiol (CBD) - which can be bought legally in Ireland but is not licensed for prescription.

Mr Gaynor, from Galway, and other parents are campaigning for another element of cannabis, THC, to be legalised as well to help treat their children's conditions.

"We'd hope that the ­minister would expedite things," Mr Gaynor said. "Ronan needs the THC element of this now."

His call was echoed by Vera Twomey whose daughter Ava Barry (6) suffers from Dravet Syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy.

She said that Ava suffered as many as 23 seizures in a 36-hour period before she began treatment with CBD. She had just seven such attacks last month.

Read more: 'My daughter is extremely ill' - Mother's 300km walk to plead for life-saving cannabis oil

Ms Twomey met Mr Harris yesterday and she said he told her that January is the earliest the review of Ireland's policy on medicinal cannabis can be completed. The review is the first of its kind to take place into the complex issue in Ireland and is expected to take 12 weeks.

John O'Meara from Clondalkin raised the case of his granddaughter Erika Cawley (6) who also has Dravet Syndrome and has tried 23 different forms of conventional treatment.

Irish Independent

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