21 May 2022

Roscommon's Luke 'Ming' Flanagan MEP: 'Minister Harris needs to stop hiding behind the “lack of availability” of cannabis products'

Luke Ming Flanagan

MEP Luke Ming Flanagan.

Simon Harris has recently stated that “lack of availability of cannabis products in Ireland remains the most critical barrier to full implementation”.

This statement does not add up, according to MEP Luke 'Ming' Flanagan. The experience of Vera Twomey has not been that there is a problem of availability, he says. The problem is one of importation and delivery. 

"As most people know Vera Twomey has acquired a license for medical cannabis for her daughter Ava. In order for Vera to get the cannabis based medicine either herself or her husband must travel six times per year to the Transvaal clinic in The Hague. The journey involves an early morning flight from Cork to Amsterdam followed by a train journey to their destination city. The schedules mean hanging around for hours on end waiting for the return flight home.

"Not the end of the world you might say. True. Far better than having no access to the medicine. Very true. Are these journey really necessary though? Definitely not. Surely the medicine can be delivered to their local pharmacy. Well anyone who knows Vera will know that if there is a route to make this happen then she will find it.

Read also: MEP Luke Ming Flanagan discusses recent AGRI Committee vote

"I regularly talk to Vera on the phone. I got a phone call from her in the last fortnight. She rang me to inform me that there is already someone getting delivery to the Island of Ireland from the Transvaal clinic in The Hague. As always with Vera she used this information to unlock a solution to her own particular situation. She established that a pharmaceutical distribution company are already bringing it here. I say here rather loosely. It is being delivered to Northern Ireland. She has contacted the company in question and asked could they the provide the same service into the Republic of Ireland. No problem was the answer. However it would have to be agreed to by the HSE. Simple. Well so it should be.

"However rather than helping her they are in fact stonewalling her. She is waiting and waiting to hear what action the HSE have taken to facilitate the medicines delivery. Why does the state allow this to happen? Why when there is simple solution at hand do the HSE not act upon it? If the people involved in taking care of our health administration don’t care about the well being of those they get paid to take care of then they shouldn’t be let near the job.

"I have three daughters myself. As anyone knows raising children is hard work. When one parent has to go away for the day it becomes a little bit more challenging. When one has a child with special needs that challenge is even greater. The state needs to get its act together now. Deliver the medicine. It’s not rocket science. Minister Harris needs to stop hiding behind the 'lack of availability'. It’s simply not true."

Read also: 17 candidates register to run in European Parliament elections

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