Back my cannabis bill or be on 'wrong side of history' - TD

Campaigner Vera Twomey. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins Dublin

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 Government proposals for a compassionate access scheme are too restrictive and would not help everyone who needs medicinal cannabis.


PBP TD Gino Kenny. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins Dublin

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.

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

His People Before Profit (PBP) colleague Richard Boyd Barrett said that Sinn Fein has indicated that it may support the law, and Fianna Fail is still considering its position.

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

"We've always said we're open to any changes that are necessary in order to make it workable in terms of legislation," Mr Murphy said.

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

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

"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."