A seven-year-old girl from Cork will be allowed to use medicinal cannabis to treat her severe form of epilepsy.
Ava Barry has a rare, drug-resistant form of epilepsy, known as Dravet syndrome, which can lead to up to 20 seizures per day. Her mother, Vera Twomey, has been involved in an ongoing campaign aimed at allowing her daughter to access medicinal cannabis to treat the condition.
Earlier this year, the family made the difficult decision to move to the Netherlands so that they could access the drug there. Ava made great progress and is seizure free, however the family then faced another difficult decision. Ms Twomey moved back to Ireland with their three other children, while Ava stayed in the Netherlands with her father.
While medicinal cannabis is not illegal here, individual GPs can only prescribe it if they have been granted a special licence by the Minister for Health. Obtaining such a licence is a difficult and lengthy process.
However, the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, has confirmed that he has granted a licence that will allow Ava to use the drug here.
In an emotional post to Facebook, Ms Twomey said that Ava had been granted the licence ‘and we are coming home...and we will be home for Christmas'.
She also thanked all of the people who have supported the family during this difficult time.
*Pictured is Vera Twomey sharing the good news on Facebook
I don't understand what all the fuss is about. Cannabis (indian hemp) was allowed on prescription in Ireland up until the 1950's. The rise of 'flower power' with it's use of cannabis frightened the establishment, which was not used to handling drug abuse,and it was taken out of the Poisons and Medicine regulations at the time. All that is required is to put it back into the Medicine Acts where it will be strictly controlled by prescription and by qualified prescriber. It is a disturbing development that public pressure is deciding on the availability of certain medicines rather than the decision of appropriate qualified bodies. Populism is not only influencing politics.