Sunday 20 August 2017

Medicinal cannabis bound for little Ava is seized at airport

Desperate: Vera Twomey Picture: Tom Burke
Desperate: Vera Twomey Picture: Tom Burke

Alan O'Keeffe

A mother who travelled to Spain to obtain medicinal cannabis for her daughter said she was "severely disappointed" when it was confiscated by customs officials yesterday.

Vera Twomey arrived at Dublin Airport carrying a three-month supply of THC medicine, which contains cannabis, which had been prescribed for her daughter Ava by a medical consultant in Barcelona.

The Co Cork mother travelled to Barcelona to gain access to the medicinal cannabis for Ava's seizures.

Ms Twomey's seven-year-old daughter 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," she told the Irish Independent.

"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 added.

She travelled with Dublin TD Gino Kenny and MEP Luke Ming Flanagan who accompanied her as a public show of support. They made a video before the flight and posted it on Facebook.

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

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

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

"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 one," he said.

Irish Independent

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