CORK mother, Vera Twomey, was awarded a People of the Year Award in Dublin last night and used her speech to call on Taoiseach Leo Varadkar directly to legislate for medicinal cannabis.
Vera and her eight-year-old daughter, Ava Barry, rose to national prominence during a two-and-a-half-year national campaign to secure medicinal cannabis to treat Ava’s condition called Dravet Syndrome, which causes severe, dangerous and frequent seizures, sometimes up to 500 a month.
Following a persistent campaign, Vera’s lobbying efforts finally bore fruit with Ava being issued with a special license to allow her access to medicinal cannabis in Ireland
Vera Twomey believes the Government now needs to legislate and put a framework in place for the prescribing of medicinal cannabis to ensure that other families do not have to go through the same ordeal as her.
Vera made the plea after being presented with the award by Olympic medallist Rob Heffernan.
“This award is supposed to be for extraordinary people. But we were just ordinary people put in an extraordinary situation where we had to fight to get what Ava needed,” she said.
“We want our rights. We do not want the pressure. We need our medication. We want the Government and opposition to work together to give the people of Ireland the gift because it is a gift that Ava has received and it is her freedom. Freedom to live her life free from seizures and free from pain. To live and to grow and to be happy with a brighter future.
“Everyone deserves that right now and into the future. Not just seven people who have been granted licences in Ireland to date but the thousands of others that are watching.
The Taoiseach was in the audience at last night’s awards. Ms Twomey appealed directly to him to pass legislation that would allow others access to medicinal cannabis.
“We want it now and you’re the man to do it.”