Cork mother completes emotional march on Leinster House

Vera Twomey made the 260km journey on foot to demand access to medicinal cannabis for her daughter who suffers from a rare form of epilepsy

Cork mother completes emotional march on Leinster House

Vera Twomey with supporters on the final day of her 260km walk from her home in Cork to Leinster House in Dublin today, 07-03-2017. Image: Sam Boal / RollingNews

A Cork mother has completed a 260km journey from Cork to Dublin on foot to demand access to medicinal cannabis for her daughter.

Vera Twomey arrived at the Dáil to cheers from approximately 200 of her supporters this afternoon.

Ms Twomey has been suffering from tonsillitis and had to complete the final leg in a wheelchair as a result of a knee injury she sustained half way through the journey.

She has been accompanied most of the way by PBP-AAA TD Gino Kenny - who has long supported her cause and campaigned for the legalisation of medicinal cannabis.

This is the second time she completed the trip in a desperate attempt to get access to cannabis-based medicine for her six-year-old daughter Ava who suffers from Dravet Syndrome – a rare form of epilepsy.

She said CBD treatments have provided her daughter a measure of relief - but she needs full access to medicinal cannabis oil right away.

A long journey

Supporters chanted “let her in” on her arrival at the gates of Leinster House this afternoon.

She was greeted by TDs inside the gates and helped inside government buildings where she is expected to meet with the Minister for Health Simon Harris.

The Oireachtas Health Committee heard from the Health Product Regulatory Authority (HPRA) and Department of Health Officials on the issue of cannabis-based medicines this afternoon.

A HPRA report published last month recommended the drug should be made available to patients with certain conditions who have not responded to other treatments.

Health Minister's statement

In a statement last night, Minister Harris said further consultation with Ava's consultant can be arranged.

He said he remains fully committed to “establishing an access programme for cannabis-based treatments in Ireland” but warned it will take time.

Vera Twomey and People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny on the plinth at Leinster House on the final day of her 260km journey, 07-03-2017. Image: Sam Boal / RollingNews

The family's request for the medicines under a special licence was previously rejected and Ms Twomey said further consultations would be a waste of time until the law is changed.

Arriving into Newlands Cross earlier today Ms Twomey said she had lost faith in the minister - adding that he has not kept his promises to the family.

The government’s planned compassionate access programme is expected to make cannabis oil available to help multiple sclerosis and epilepsy patients, as well as chemotherapy patients suffering nausea and vomiting.