A bill that proposes making cannabis available for medicinal purposes has been passed by the Dáil.
Members of the Independent Alliance backed the bill, which was tabled by People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny.
The Dublin Mid-West deputy said yesterday that the bill would ensure doctors could approve cannabis to people suffering from chronic pain, epilepsy, cancer and multiple sclerosis. He told RTÉ's 'Six One News' that although people had reservations, he believed the move would seriously help people in need.
"Medicinal cannabis works for people; sometimes they just come to their end of the line for orthodox medicine," Mr Kenny said.
"I know people have reservations. I was slightly nervous putting the bill forward, but the more I met ordinary people trying to alleviate suffering for their children and themselves, I'm more and more convinced this will benefit a lot of people who need it."
The decision by Fine Gael not to oppose the bill meant it had secured enough support to be passed to the next stage.
This means that medicinal cannabis could be legal by the spring.
The bill was tabled after a new survey found that more than 90pc of Irish people support the legalisation of the drug on medical grounds.
Medicinal cannabis has become a fast-growing, multi-billion dollar global industry. A new survey shows that 92pc of us here in Ireland support the use of the drug for medical purposes, but should we legalise it now?