Friday 15 December 2017

Mother 'severely disappointed' after daughter's medicinal cannabis seized at airport

Vera Twomey and her daughter Ava (6) Picture by David Conachy
Vera Twomey and her daughter Ava (6) Picture by David Conachy

Alan O'Keeffe

A mother who travelled to Spain to obtain medicinal cannabis for her daughter said it was confiscated by customs officials today.

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

Vera Twomey travelled to Barcelona in order to gain access to medicinal cannabis under prescription for her daughter Ava’s seizures.

Her 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, she said.

“The medicine was taken away from me when I arrived. 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," she said.

“If I was a parent in Spain, Germany, Italy, Canada, Poland, or in 30 states of the US, I would be allowed give my daughter this medication,” she said.

She travelled to Barcelona to the Kalapa Clinic to see a specialist who had examined Ava’s medical files compiled in the US and had accessed Ava on Skype.

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 back to Dublin about the purpose of the trip and launched 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 officals I had the medication,” she said.

People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny said Health Minister Simon Harris has forced families like Vera’s into desperate measures in order to access medicinal cannabis.

The TD offered his full support to Ms Twomey and said that it was terrible that the government and Simon Harris had forced her into taking this trip.

Deputy Kenny said: “I wish to offer my full support and solidarity to Vera and her family at this moment in time.

“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 ones.

“In this case people have been propelled to expose bad laws in order to make good laws for the greater good.

"The bill which I put forward which got cross party support last December would give broad based access to cannabis for medicinal use, on the recommendation of a doctor, to people who could benefit from using it.

“People suffering from illness such as chronic pain, MS, intractable epilepsy and other conditions could benefit tremendously from using medicinal cannabis in helping to alleviate some of their symptoms and pain,” he said.

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