Luke 'Ming' Flanagan Has Accused One Irish Minister of Having "No Balls"

"Minister Harris has no balls. Harris has no balls. The Minister abdicates his duties."

So goes the opening of MEP Luke 'Ming' Flanagan's latest statement about the political situation in this country.

Today, Flanagan gave a withering evaluation of Minister for Health Simon Harris and his current handling of the healthcare system in Ireland.

As well as his robust claims about Minister Harris, Flanagan went on to criticise his handling of the case of Vera Twomey and her child Ava, who suffers from a rare genetic disorder called Dravet's Syndrome.

Vera has embarked on a second 155 mile walk from Cork to Dublin in a bid to get Minister Harris to allow her daughter access to medicinal cannabis.

Flanagan said: "Since then the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) have delivered their report to the Minister [on medicinal cannabis]. This report is a classic lesson in how civil servants do their work.

"It is conservative in the extreme. A clear case of arse covering. No imagination. No enquiry into alternatives. No breath of analysis. Denial of the facts on the ground."

He said that Minister Harris is a man with immense power but he "doesn't have the balls to use it."

Minster Harris said yesterday that it was not his usual policy to comment on individual cases, but says that he and the HSE had been in contact with Vera Twomey. In a statement he confirmed:

"I would like to state that I and my Department are doing everything in our power to assist Ms Vera Twomey. I completely understand Vera’s great concern for her daughter, Ava, I have met Vera on four occasions and my Department has been in ongoing contact with her to inform her of the options open to her personally as well as keeping her informed of general developments. I met with Vera last Thursday along with the Chief Medical Officer, senior officials from my Department and from the HPRA, when we provided an update on her own situation and our efforts to address the issue of placing medicinal cannabis on an appropriate regulatory and clinical service basis for the first time in the history of the state." 

This is Luke 'Ming' Flanagan's full statement:

"Harris has no balls. The Minister abdicates his duties.

"Vera Twomey is back on the road. She has resumed her walk of protest. She had no choice. A spineless Minister has chosen to hide behind the work of closeted, conservative civil servants.

"She had started out from Aghabullogue in Co Cork and had made her way as far as Mallow when Minister Harris called her and said that he would meet her and listen to her. Vera’s daughter Ava suffers from epilepsy and she needs access to Medicinal Cannabis.

"Since then she has had the run around. She met the Minister and he promised to ‘do whatever he could’. She was asked to address the Select committee on Health in the Oireachtas. She did so and told them that medicinal cannabis was the only option for Ava.

"The pharmaceutical drugs have horrible side effects. She met with the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA). The Minister had asked them to investigate medicinal cannabis.

"Since then the HPRA have delivered their report to the Minister. This report is a classic lesson in how civil servants do their work. It is conservative in the extreme. A clear case of arse covering. No imagination. No enquiry into alternatives. No breath of analysis. Denial of the facts on the ground.

"And the Minister has availed of it. He is a man with a lot of power but completely without the balls to use it. He has hidden behind the HPRA report. He has shown no leadership. He has abdicated his duties. A Minister for Health should care for those in pain. Our Minister does not.

"Minister Harris may have set up ‘compassionate access to medicinal cannabis’, but he has not acted with a caring heart. Ask Vera Twomey. Compassionate access, as outlined by the Minister is expensive, costly and slow. That’s why Vera is back on the road.

"Ginno Kenny TD is walking with Vera. Ginno has a bill before Dáil Éireann called Cannabis for Medicinal Use Regulation Bill 2016. This bill would be welcomed by thousands of people in Ireland. While Minister ‘Hide Behind The Report’ Harris is allowing cannabis use for a very restricted range of ailments. Ginno’s bill would help those with Parkinson’s Disease, Arthritis, Chronic pain and many other ailments.

"I will join Vera Twomey on her walk of protest. I invite the press and media to join Vera, Ginno and myself on the road to Dublin. We will arrive at Dáil Éireann on Tuesday."

Minister Harris's office had no comment to make about Luke Ming Flanagan's statement when contacted by JOE earlier today.

Article by Joe.ie