Wednesday 19 September 2018

People Before Profit TD makes last-ditch appeal for other parties to support medicinal cannabis bill

Gino Kenny TD, People Before Profit Alliance, outside his office in Clondalkin.
Photo: Tony Gavin 20/12/2016
Gino Kenny TD, People Before Profit Alliance, outside his office in Clondalkin. Photo: Tony Gavin 20/12/2016
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

PEOPLE Before Profit TD Gino Kenny has made a last ditch appeal to other political parties to support his Bill to legalise medicinal cannabis.

Ahead of a debate on the proposed law, Mr Kenny said: "if they vote against our Bill they’ll be on the wrong side of public opinion, science and history."

The Oireachtas cross party health committee has recommended that the Bill does not proceed, a move Mr Kenny has described as "sabotage".

The government has adopted the Committee's position amid concern that the Bill may lead to unintended consequences such as cannabis making its way onto the recreational market.

Mr Kenny said that a government proposals for a compassionate access scheme are too restrictive and would not help everyone who needs medicinal cannabis.

He said his Bill is backed by Vera Twomey, the mother of Ava Barry (7) who has a severe form of epilepsy and is currently being treated in the Netherlands where medicinal cannabis is legal.

Mr Kenny said: "Hopefully we can get the bigger parties to change their mind on the health committee’s report."

His PBP colleague Richard Boyd Barrett said that Sinn Féin has indicated that it may support the law and Fianna Fáil is still considering its position.

Solidarity TD Paul Muprhy also appealed to the larger parties not to "block and kill" the proposed law.

He added: "We’ve always said we're open to any changes that are necessary in order to make it workable in terms of legislation".

PBP TD Bríd Smith said Ireland is lagging behind other countries in legislating for medicinal cannabis.

"Poland are in the process of legalising  medicinal cannabis. Already in Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and over 23 States in the USA have legalised medicinal cannabis," she said.

Ms Smith added: "I have friends... who suffer with extreme pain because of cancer and other illnesses and they’re being deprived the use of medicinal cannabis… it’s time we caught up with the rest of the planet."

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