VIDEO: Condom Train, Medicinal Plane.

Vera Twomey is committed to doing the very best she can for her children. She is straight talking, and dedicated. To that list we can now add ‘brave’. Not since the famous condom train of 1971 has the Irish state, and its weak and backward politicians, been confronted with the ridiculousness of the denial of reality.

Today Vera has challenged the Irish state right at its border. By bringing medicinal cannabis into Dublin Airport, Vera was taking a big step in the fight to decriminalise the plant for medicinal use. She has travelled the road of ‘compassionate exemption’ for the importation of cannabis. This road, as laid down by Minister Harris and his civil servants, is neither compassionate nor an exemption. Vera did her upmost to comply. Doctors were consulted, Neurologists were consulted, reports were submitted, endless forms were filled out. She complied with every step asked of her by the HSE, the Department of Health and the Health Products Regulatory Authority(HPRA). She got caught in a circus which spun her from the Ministers office to the Oireachtas Committee on Health and on to the HPRA.

But when the state contrives to deny the facts and bury its collective head in the pit of wanton ignorance, then a citizen has no choice but to act. And act Vera did. As per the women and men of the condom train, she has challenged the state by going abroad and importing something that the state deemed immoral. Arrest her and deny her child the medicine she needs, or let her through and collapse this farce.

By bringing medicinal cannabis into Dublin Airport, prescribed by a medical professional in Barcelona, Spain, Vera has put the authorities into a dilemma. A dilemma of their own making. Minister Harris has not got the backbone to do what he knows is right and just. He hides behind the HPRA like a coward afraid to challenge and enlighten his own party and cabinet colleagues.

Well done Vera Twomey. Ireland will take great encouragement from your actions. You have kicked the issue right back to the people who should serve their citizens much more honestly. Thousands of people in Ireland already use cannabis for chronic pain, for MS, for epilepsy, for arthritis and for many other ailments. It’s tragic that our Minister for Health can’t see how farcical this is. He will someday look back in shame at the wasted chance to improve the lives of those most in need of help. Hardly a good record for one with such a great opportunity. Have we not learned from 1971 days? Are our politicians no more progressive? It seems not.