Wednesday 20 September 2017

Mother's tears after fruitless meeting with Simon Harris

Vera Twomey and her daughter Ava (7), who has been taking cannabis oil Photo: David Conachy
Vera Twomey and her daughter Ava (7), who has been taking cannabis oil Photo: David Conachy
Syve and Blathín Lynch show their support for Ava and her mother Vera on her walk to Dáil Éireann
Over 100 supporters in Macroom turned out in solidarity during some heavy showers in support of Vera Twomey’s walk from Mallow to the Daíl
The end of a long road, Vera Twomey places her hands on the gates of Dail Eireann following completion of her protest march from Cork in support of the Cannabis for Medicinal Use Regualation Bill. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

A mother who walked from Cork to Dublin to have a meeting with Simon Harris to get vital treatment for her seven-year-old daughter has been left "heartbroken" as she is still waiting on vital documents.

Vera Twomey, whose daughter Ava (7) suffers from Dravet Syndrome which involves intractable epilepsy that cannot be controlled by normal medications, has lead the charge for access to medicinal cannabis.

She undertook the 260km walk from her home in Cork to Leinster House in an effort to urge Health Minister Simon Harris to grant access to medicinal cannabis for patients with certain conditions. She suffered a knee injury along the way and finished the journey in a wheelchair.

Vera said she was "left in tears" after a four and a half hour meeting with Mr Harris who she said promised to give her vital documents for her daughter's treatment.

"These important documents were to take a few hours to arrange after several attempts to contact officials regarding the eta of these documents with no response it took certain actions by TDs to eventually make contact with officials regarding said issue.

"This resulted in Paul (Vera's husband) making a trip to collect these papers at six thirty this evening. This callous indifference to our family resulted in a further day in Dublin and and unnecessary day for my children to be without their mother.

Vera Twomey on her walk from cork in support of her Daughter Ava. She is pictured arriving on the outskirts of Dublin City at Newlands Cross.
Vera Twomey on her walk from cork in support of her Daughter Ava. She is pictured arriving on the outskirts of Dublin City at Newlands Cross.

"The enclosed documents hold none of the important documents necessary and promised to us by Simon Harris last night. It is truly truly disgraceful."

The Cork mother said she was forced to return home without the necessary documentation., causing "serious concern" for the family.

"I return down the road to Aghabullogue with Paul the tears are falling and my heart is breaking because of the injustice we are experiencing in our country.

"However I cannot say that their cruelty will defeat my efforts to gain access to medicinal cannabis legally for Ava in this country. I would ask you to to stay with us to keep Ava's position in your hearts."

Speaking on Newstalk, Ms Twomey said: "It's humiliating really, even talking about it is really humiliating."

A spokesperson for The Department of Health said: "The Minister is pleased that Ava Barry has an appointment with her Consultant tomorrow and he believes that this is the appropriate place for clinical decisions to be made."

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