Vera Marches on - the Minister Runs for Cover

Today Vera Twomey will arrive at the Dáil.  She has walked form Aghabullogue in Co Cork to protest the way that Minister Harris has handled access to medicine for her daughter Ava.

While Vera marches on the Minister orders his department to cover his arse.

This Minister does not know pain.  He has no empathy.  It would appear that he has never had to care for someone in pain. Perhaps if he had, he would have a better idea of his job. Many people in Ireland compare Minister Harris to war criminals who purposely cut off medicines, including pain killers, in a war zone.  He continues to force people to source pain relive on the black market.  This situation will prevail until the Minister cops on.  The so called Compassionate Access to Medicinal Cannabis is a farce.  It has been made clear to the Minister that it is not a sufficient stop gap. 

His chief medical man in the Department of Health has obliged with a Press Release - the Minister is doing all he can.  So if he is, why are school children forming guards of honour for Vera as she makes her way through the towns of counties Cork, Tipperary, Kilkenny, Offaly, Kildare and on into Dublin?  Why did the youth of one town turn out and play their brass band instruments as she marched on to the capital?  Because they have empathy.  They may not have the power that the Minister has but they know the facts and they came out to support Vera and her daughter Ava, and indeed all those who need proper access to medicinal cannabis throughout the country.

Minister, forcing your staff to issue statements will not change the fact that you are abdicating your duties.  Hiding behind the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) reports will not do.  You too must stand up and be counted.  There is no ‘budget implication’ here.  Put yourself in the boots of a chronic pain sufferer.  Medicinal Cannabis works.  We do not need to reinvent the wheel on this issue. 

A mother has walked across the country to make her point.  She knows the facts with regards to the pharmaceutical drugs. They don’t work. They have horrible side effects.  She also knows the facts on your compassion access programme - never ending paperwork, expensive and difficult to navigate. In short it’s an unnecessary obstacle course for those least able to overcome such obstacles.

Minister instead of ordering your department staff to cover your back you should direct them to look forward and to embrace what is an established medicine all over the world.

CannabisPaul Cotter