TD Gino Kenny writes to UK Health Minister urging compassion in medicinal cannabis case
Indie-Rose Clarry (5) needs medicinal cannabis to alleviate symptoms of Dravet Syndrome
People Before Profit TD, Gino Kenny, has been at the forefront of the campaign to legalise cannabis for medicinal use in Ireland. While his Cannabis for Medicinal Use Regulation Bill 2016 has stalled at the Committee Stage of the legislative process, the overwhelming Dáil support for his Bill has forced the Government to recently introduce the Medical Cannabis Access Programme.
Deputy Kenny has met and worked alongside many campaigners from around the world, including Tannine Montgomery, whose five-year-old daughter, Indie-Rose Clarry, has been using medicinal cannabis to control her intractable epilepsy. While the UK has introduced law to allow for access to medicinal cannabis for certain conditions, it is still not available on the NHS and the cost of importing it is prohibitive for Indie’s family.
Indie’s father has obtained a prescription for medicinal cannabis from a paediatric doctor in the UK and has travelled to the Netherlands for the past four months to collect the drug at a fraction of the importation cost. Last Friday, he was stopped as he came through Stansted airport and the cannabis was confiscated.
Gino Kenny said: “I know Tannine and the distress she has been going through watching her daughter suffer immeasurably with violent seizures every day. Since she started taking medicinal cannabis oil, the seizures have reduced spectacularly and the entire family’s quality of life has improved. It is beyond cruel that they have had Indie’s medicine seized and I felt compelled to write to the Health Minister to urge him to return it to the family.
“While I understand that there are laws around importation, surely a measure of compassion and humanity must be shown in this case. If the drug is not currently available on the NHS, and the cost is prohibitive, it is understandable that families who cannot afford it will do whatever it takes to obtain the oil that brings such significant relief to their child.
“I have strong memories of a similar fight that Vera Twomey and her husband Paul had to go through to secure medicinal cannabis for their daughter Ava who has the same syndrome as Indie. Vera fought like any mother would to alleviate the suffering of her child and Tannine is doing exactly the same. I urge Minister Hancock to return the medicine to Tannine and her family so that this little girl can continue to improve and not return to the life-threatening seizures she so painfully endured for the majority of her young life.”