Sunday 18 November 2018

'Absence of compassion' - Micheál Martin calls for medicinal cannabis to be legalised

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin
John Downing

John Downing

People who need the drug cannabis to help cope with illness and pain are suffering needlessly, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, has said.

Mr Martin said special legislation for medicinal cannabis, proposed by People Before Profit TD, Gino Kenny, was withdrawn almost two years ago. This was because an official review was promised leading to better supervised access to the drug in Ireland on grounds of special medical need.

He said that almost two years later nothing had changed and people, such as Cork woman Vera Twomey and her daughter Ava Barry, were forced to go to the Netherlands every three months to get the drug.

The Fianna Fáil leader said the Government should allow a compassionate access scheme, and a reputable company engaged in medical cannabis supply across Europe, could deliver supplies in Ireland from the first quarter of next year.

“The absence of such a compassionate access scheme represents the absence of compassion,” Mr Martin told the Dáil.

Replying for the Government, Agriculture Minister Michael Creed said studies were ongoing, including contacts with countries including Denmark to see how they handled the issue.

Mr Creed insisted that there was “no foot-dragging” by the Health Department on the issue and all requests for access to medical cannabis, endorsed by a hospital consultant, had so far been granted.

The Minister said the Government wanted an appropriate access scheme which was well informed and correctly medically supervised.

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