Vera Twomey says campaign is for daughter, not about politics

Vera Twomey says campaign is for daughter, not about politics
Ava Twomey and her mum Vera at their home in Cork. Picture: John Delea.

CORK mother Vera Twomey has said that her fight for access to medicinal cannabis was not based on politics but on the love she has for her daughter, Ava.

In yesterday’s Evening Echo, Cork City GP Dr Nick Flynn said that the current debate around medicinal cannabis was based on politics and was missing a medical element, pointing to a recent statement from the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland which warned about the lack of research and evidence for the effectiveness of cannabis-based medicines.

Ms Twomey, who has been at the centre of the campaign for access to medicinal cannabis while fighting for her daughter, who suffers from a rare form of epilepsy called Dravets Syndrome, said that this was not about recreational cannabis or politics, but about providing treatment for patients.

She said that there is research from all over the world on the effectiveness of cannabis-based medicines, pointing to specific studies in Newcastle, the US, and Israel. She also said that other countries, including 11 in the EU, Canada, Australia, and the US all allowed access to cannabis-based medicine, and that Ireland should be now different. She said that Ireland needed to update its rules and that Irish medical professionals should work with their international colleagues to learn more about these medicines.

Ms Twomey said that there was another child with Dravets Syndrome being treated with a THC-based medicine in Cork, but the family had to go to great lengths to get it. She said they had to take up residence in the United States for a month, get a prescription there, and have to go The Netherlands three times a year to get their supply so they child can be treated in Ireland.

She said that the same neurologist that was treating that child was unable to prescribe Ava the same drug as the current rules did not allow it without going through these steps.

“Our daughter is expected to get a prescription from a paediatric neurologist, and they are not in a position to give it, not because of a lack of research, but because of the laws around THC,” she said.

“As far as I’m concerned, any person of any class or creed, particularly a vulnerable child, should be able to get access to the medicine that they need.”

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