Tipperary Council Supports Vera Twomey and Ava Barry – Cllr Martin Browne

In her own words. Vera Twomey wrote down the key points that Tipperary Council would hear through Martin Browne.

I am not pleased that Mr Simon Harris has so far shown no inclination to assist; instead, it seems he has already reneged on his commitments.

Cllr Martin Browne of Sinn Féin has commended Tipperary County Councillors on their passing of a Sinn Féin resolution to support Vera Twomey. Vera Twomey has walked from Cork to Dublin to gain access to medicinal cannabis for her 7-year old daughter Ava who has epilepsy.

Cllr Browne said: “When I visited her at home on Sunday Vera wrote out some points she wanted me to make. I believe that the clear presentation of her argument is one of the deciding factors. Of course, it could just be that this was the right thing to do.”

“As we’ve seen, Vera’s case has garnered huge attention; regular readers should remember that just because RTE and the local papers don’t cover a story, doesn’t mean there isn’t a story. The story gets out via new media, and that’s true in this case. That attention is welcome if it brings change, and that means motions like this one to put the State on notice that the citizens aren’t happy with the treatment of the most vulnerable.”

The Sinn Féin motion.

“We put in a motion in the name of the 5 Sinn Féin councillors and are pleased to say the other councillors present supported it.”

“We in Sinn Féin in Tipperary were touched when we heard of the story of Vera and Ava. We really didn’t have any choice but to support her; we don’t see how anyone could fail to be moved by the situation of that family.”

“I’m glad to be able to say that I was able to travel much of the distance with her, and was witness to the huge outpouring of support in Dublin and outside Leinster House. But I am not pleased that Mr Simon Harris has so far shown no inclination to assist; instead, it seems he has already reneged on his commitments.”

Martin Browne in Cahir, and arriving in Dublin with the group.
Vera Twomey in Cahir, County Tipperary.

Day 9: Photographs

 

Day 8 – Protest to help 7-year old Ava Barry blocks Simon Harris’ ambition

Today was a walking day like any other on Vera’s route to Dublin. Except for the need for a wheelchair, obviously.

Day 8 Kildare Town to Naas. Via Newbridge

Posted by Gino Kenny on Monday, March 6, 2017

For such is the toll that has been taken on the body of this brave Cork woman that bouts of physiotherapy, crutches, and now a wheelchair, have been deployed to help her along. But those aids are only required to meet a deadline of today (March 7th 2017) outside Leinster House at 13:30.

Vera’s determination hasn’t waned with her physical condition. On the contrary, her determination is not only as strong as when she set out, but has been boosted by the response of ordinary people along her route; each good wish balances each new twinge and ache. Whether walking, rolling, hobbling, or crawling on all fours to the gates of Leinster House, Vera will be there to secure medicinal help for 7-year old Ava. It’s only a matter of when.

Vera is walking to get medicinal cannabis for her daughter Ava, who has Dravet Syndrome. She’s walking powered by a Mum’s determination to do what’s right for her child.

What Vera wants for 7-year old Ava is perfectly safe, legal, and acceptable in other European states, and on most of the continent of North America and Canada!

There is so much you can do to help.

Today during lunch I sent an email to each TD and Senator in Leinster House. Attached to that email were copies of two letters I sent last week by registered post to Simon Harris (Minister for Health) and Katherine Zappone (Minister for Children and Youth Affairs).

I used registered post because so far no response has come to my original email. You can see for yourself that the letters were received (not that I doubted An Post!) as delivery status can be checked here (Simon Harris) and here (Katherine Zappone).


The letters are here for your understanding. Please note: these letters were sent in my private capacity.


Ava Barry, being looked after in Monasterevin by Lindsey Graham who walked from Mitchelstown with Vera.

Please remember, the objective of Vera’s actions isn’t the resignation of anyone. Vera’s objective is to help Ava have as normal a life as she can. That’s true of my letters above also. But if a Minister either can’t or won’t make whatever changes are necessary to save a child, then a new Minister who has imagination, or courage, or both is required.

Subsequent to these letters being sent, Martin Browne of Cashel sent out a press release. There are good politicians who want to effect change for the better, and some who do not. Martin Browne wants change, and I thank him for supporting this cause.

Gino Kenny TD has been with Vera from the start, and has not only looked after Vera and planned the route, but has also introduced legislation which would resolve this case. Maybe Simon and Katherine should take a leaf from his book, which is a pretty good book!

Gino Kenny TD of People Before Profit. Best thing is that Gino will stand against Frances FitzGerald (Fine Gael Minister for Justice) in the next election. Minister FitzGerald hasn’t helped either. If you live in Dublin Mid-West you’ll have an opportunity to vote her out in favour of a reformer.

In his own words: “It is now time for the government to stop needlessly stalling this Bill going before the Health Committee. The Minister needs to pull his head out of the sand on this issue and realise that there are potentially hundreds of thousands of people who could benefit from cannabis based medicines being made available. He is denying these people, like Ava, treatment that could ease their pain. The Minister now needs to act and stop getting in the way of people getting access to the medicines that they need.”

Is this having an effect? Is Vera’s action being noticed and is it causing change? Yes!

After a shameful interview on the Seán O’Rourke show on RTE Radio 1 in which no mention was made of a Mum walking over 200Km to get medicine for her daughter, that email was sent to every TD and Senator. We since learned that Simon Harris has parked his ambition to be leader of Fine Gael.

In addition, a few hours later this was released by Simon Harris:

RTE has imposed a media blackout on this story, but people power is having an effect. We must keep up the pressure.


Can you raise awareness of what this Mum must do for her child in the face of an uncaring State? Can you share this link or page to others around our planet? Can you do your bit to draw international attention to the shameful conduct of the Southern ‘Republic’ towards one of it’s youngest citizens?

If you’re an ordinary citizen who understands that a Mum shouldn’t have to battle alone against the State, here’s how you can help:

  • Can you share this post?
  • Can you raise awareness by phoning a radio station?
  • Can you send an email to simon.harris@oir.ie to complain about both his actions and inaction?
  • Can you phone Simon Harris’ office on +353-1-281-3727 or +353-1-618-3805?
  • Can you come out and walk with Vera?
  • Can you sign the petition?
  • Can you bother the TDs in your constituency with phone calls and emails?
  • Or best of all, do one or all of the above and join us today either at Leinster House or on the walk in to it!

Only people power can change this situation. That means you.


Children are people too, Ministers. Photograph in Ballybrittas, County Laois.

Day 7 – Still walking to save Ava from Simon’s sloth (and inhumanity)

Vera Twomey is walking to get medicinal cannabis for her daughter Ava, who has Dravet Syndrome. She’s walking powered by a Mum’s determination to do what’s right for her child.

She has the full support of her family, and everyone she meets on her 200+Km walk in the cold of an Irish Spring. Everyone, that is, except the two Government ministers who should be supporting her at every turn. Those are the Minister for Health (Simon Harris), and the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Katherine Zappone). Neither have lifted a finger to help.

The Government of the ‘Republic’ of Ireland have broken the promise of the 1916 Proclamation. That is the founding document upon which the Government lays it’s claim to legitimacy, and contains the phrases: “The Republic guarantees … equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all of the children of the nation equally…“. That guarantee is demonstrably now void.

Yesterday we learned that Ava had a heart attack as a result of her seizures. She was aged 5 at the time.

Anger continues to mount as other Mums learn of the plight of Vera’s family. As the videos and photographs below show, Mums are starting to mobilise.

The cover picture is of Ava Barry, now aged 7.


The videos below are unedited.

What this is about as she leaves Emo, County Laois, is explained by Vera Twomey:

Some friendly faces in Ballybrittas:

Brian and Gino explain:

Arriving in Monasterevin, County Kildare:

What Vera wants for 7-year old Ava is perfectly safe, legal, and acceptable in other European states, and on most of the continent of North America and Canada!

Can you raise awareness of what this Mum must do for her child in the face of an uncaring State? Can you share this link or page to others around our planet? Can you do your bit to draw international attention to the shameful conduct of the Southern ‘Republic’ towards one of it’s youngest citizens?

If you’re an ordinary citizen who understands that a Mum shouldn’t have to battle alone against the State, here’s how you can help:

  • Can you share this post?
  • Can you raise awareness by phoning a radio station?
  • Can you send an email to simon.harris@oir.ie to complain about both his actions and inaction?
  • Can you phone Simon Harris’ office on +353-1-281-3727 or +353-1-618-3805?
  • Can you come out and walk with Vera?
  • Can you sign the petition?
  • Can you bother the TDs in your constituency with phone calls and emails?

Only people power can change this situation. That means you.

(You can see for yourself a video of young Ava here)

Still photographs from today (2017-03-05). These images are free to use in support of Vera and Ava’s campaign. (An attribution to photographer Fachtna Roe would be appreciated, but isn’t necessary)

(Previous days uploads)

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Minister fails, Ava waits, Vera walks, citizens angered

When a 5-year old girl has a heart attack, you know something’s seriously wrong with her.

When a 30 year old can do something about it – but won’t – there’s something really, worryingly, and disturbingly, wrong with him.

Join the march on Tuesday? Or email the 30-year old at simon.harris@oir.ie – please. Tell him you don’t approve of how Vera Twomey and her daughter Ava Barry have been treated by the State.

(Previous days update)(Following days update)

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Ireland shamed as Government Ministers neglect 7-year old child

As the public disquiet and international storm caused by the mistreatment of an 7-year old child by the ‘Republic’ of Ireland grows, Vera Twomey walks on. She’s walking in hail, rain, and sleet. She’s walking to get medicinal cannabis for her daughter Ava, who has Dravet Syndrome. She’s walking powered by a Mum’s determination to do what’s right for her child.

She has the full support of her family, and everyone she meets on her 200+Km walk in the cold of an Irish Spring. Everyone, that is, except the two Government ministers who should be supporting her at every turn. Those are the Minister for Health (Simon Harris), and the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Katherine Zappone). Neither have lifted a finger to help.

Today’s continued walk was from Littleton in County Tipperary to Johnstown, County Kilkenny. Which means that Vera has now walked 138Km for her child.

Children from the local National School in Littleton walked in support of Ava and Vera for the first kilometre of the day’s journey. Along the way she was joined by some public representatives who recognise the increasing public disquiet caused by the extraordinary undertaking of this woman. Vera was also joined by increasing numbers of ordinary citizens who wish to show their solidarity with her. At all times Vera is accompanied by Gino Kenny TD, who has assisted her throughout her ordeal, and who has proposed legislation that could resolve the issue. Vera was also joined today by Ming Flanagan.

There continues to be general silence from the Minister for Health on her request for help. On his statements in the Dáil (the parliament of the ‘Republic’ of Ireland), there is discussion on the correctness of the content, and the impression given by them.

Tomorrow Vera starts from Cullahill in County Kilkenny. In order to reach Dublin by Tuesday, a decision was made to start from that point in order to get to Portlaoise on Saturday; Portlaoise is home to Ireland’s largest prison. That’s the prison to which Vera or her husband Paul could certainly be sent by the State if either of them did what any right-thinking parent would do, and themselves arranged medicinal cannabis to control their daughters seizures.

What Vera wants for 7-year old Ava is perfectly safe, legal, and acceptable in other European states, and on most of the continent of North America and Canada!

Can you come along, take photographs, and share them to *everyone* in your Facebook to raise awareness of what this Mum must do for her child in the face of an uncaring State? Can you share this link or page to others around our planet? Can you do your bit to draw international attention to the shameful conduct of the Southern ‘Republic’ towards one of it’s youngest citizens?

Tomorrows intended route is shown here:

Can you be like the children of Littleton National School and do your part to help a sick 7-year old child?

Or can you send an email to simon.harris@oir.ie to point out how disappointed you are that he has so far not heeded the request of a Mum who just wants her child to be well?

If you’ve already sent an email, then thank you; but have you received a reply? If not… send again and ask why not. Please.

It’s Vera’s concern that if Ava has another major seizure that there could be further permanent damage, or death, as a result. Your clicks and email will help.

Thank you.

 (For previous days post click here)(For following days post click here)

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Still going…. Vera is still walking to make Ava well

Vera Twomey is still walking to Dublin. She should complete her 200Km protest walk by Tuesday.

Vera is walking from her home in Cork to the Dáil in protest at the illegality and unavailability of medicinal cannabis for her 7-year old daughter Ava who has Dravet Syndrome.

So far huge kindness has been shown to Vera by everyone along the route, with food and accommodation freely offered, and kind words aplenty.

That stands in comparison to the hollow words of the Minster for Health, Simon Harris. He has not behaved well. Not well at all, and he has wasted this concerned Mum’s time.

Tomorrows route is from Littleton, County Tipperary (starting at 09:15) to Johnstown, Co. Kilkenny. Can you come out and support Vera by walking some of the distance? Vera continues to wear herself out in this huge undertaking, but every good wish gives her strength and hope.

Can you come along, take photographs, and share them to *everyone* in your Facebook to raise awareness of what this Mum must do for her child in the face of an uncaring State? Can you share this link or page to others around our planet? Can you do your bit to draw international attention to the shameful conduct of the Southern ‘Republic’ towards one of it’s youngest citizens?

Or can you send an email to simon.harris@oir.ie to point out how disappointed you are that he has so far not heeded the request of a Mum who wants her child to be well?

If you’ve already sent an email, then thank you; but have you received a reply? If not… send again. Please.

What Vera wants for 7-year old Ava is perfectly legal, safe, and acceptable in other European states, and on most of the continent of North America and Canada!

Below is the route for Friday 3rd of March, starting at 09:15 from the National School in Littleton.

(Yesterdays update is here)(The next days update is here)

Some photos of leaving Cashel at 09:30 on Thursday:

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In Littleton at the end of another day.

Wet, sore, but still walking, and still determined – Vera Twomey continues

Today’s stage of the walk to gain hope and justice for Ava was from Cahir, County Tipperary, to Cashel.

Today began with Vera herself having to go to a doctor in Cahir. Everyone in the waiting room agreed to let Vera go ahead, so as to not delay her start. Vera is getting wearing out, but the support of ordinary people is keeping her going.

Super thanks to Packie Horan in the Brian Boru in Cashel for providing food.

Please send an email to simon.harris@oir.ie to register your dissatisfaction with how Vera and Ava have been treated.

(Click here for yesterdays post or click here for the following days post)

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Vera Twomey must walk 263Km for medicine for her daughter Ava

Photographs of Vera Twomey in Cahir, County Tipperary. Vera has to walk 263Km from Cork to Dublin to get medicine for her daughter Ava. The Irish State is working against her.

The medicine isn’t expensive. It’s cannabis, to be used for medicinal purposes to control Ava’s seizures. Cannabis is legal in other parts of Europe, and in most of the United States of America. It’s non-toxic, non-lethal, non-addictive, written about in the bible, and a plant with which humans are co-evolved. Humans have used cannabis naturally for about 5,000 years. It’s good for pain relief, seizure control, and many other uses.

In the ‘Republic’ of Ireland it is illegal.

Ava has dozens of seizures a day. Vera fears they will kill the young 6 year old. And still the inexpensive and natural medicine cannot be legally used by Ava.

Tomorrow Vera starts from Cahir at 08:30 and heads via New Inn to Cashel. Please come out and support her. If you can walk a little with her or contact your TD it would help 6 year old Ava hugely.

Cahir House Hotel offered to accommodate Vera overnight at no charge; Vera is spending tonight instead with supporters she has met along the way. Similar support has already been offered in Cashel. Such is the level of generosity shown by ordinary people.

This stands in contrast with the treatment Vera and Ava have received from Minister for Health Simon Harris, and the mistreatment they have received at the hands of the HSE.

If you’re an ordinary citizen who understands that a Mum shouldn’t have to battle alone against the State, here’s how you can help:

  • Can you share this post?
  • Can you raise awareness by phoning a radio station?
  • Can you send an email to simon.harris@oir.ie to complain about both his actions and inaction?
  • Can you come out and walk with Vera?
  • Can you sign the petition?
  • Can you bother the TDs in your constituency with phone calls and emails?

Only people power can change this situation. That means you.

(You can see for yourself a video of young Ava here)

(Click here for next days post)

Cannabis for Medicinal use Bill addresses health matters of utmost importance – Jonathan O’Brien

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Justice and Drugs Jonathan O’Brien TD has tonight outlined the party’s support for passage of the Cannabis for Medicinal Use Regulation Bill 2016 to Committee Stage, where it will table appropriate amendments.

Jonathan O'Brien TD. (Picture: Eddie O'Hare, Cork)
Jonathan O’Brien TD. (Picture: Eddie O’Hare, Cork)

The Cork North Central TD strongly emphasised that the issues addressed by the Bill where matters of health and that he welcomed the Bill as “important initiative in the development of healthcare in Ireland.”

Speaking in the Dáil this evening this evening, Deputy O’Brien said: “We need to be clear that this is a health matter.

“Research has indicated that introducing medicinal cannabis legally does not have any crime exacerbating effect. The research findings run counter to arguments suggesting the legalisation of cannabis products for medical purposes poses a danger to public health in terms of exposure to violent crime and property crimes.

“It is Sinn Fein’s view that every person has the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.

“In the past, myself and other Sinn Fein TDs called for Sativex spray and CBD oil to made available to persons suffering with conditions such as MS and Dravet’s Syndrome.

“We need to move towards an evidence-based model of depenalisation of drugs founded on international best practice, so that vulnerable drug users can access the supports they need, but also that persons who have specific medical conditions can access cannabis based medicines when they need them.

“It is bad enough to witness the pain of a loved one with a chronic debilitating illness where there is no prospect of recovery, but simply the vista of watching their condition slowly deteriorate until death – but to have to try and ease their pain under the threat of prosecution for providing them with a product that might ease their suffering is another thing altogether.

“Some parents are placed in a terrible position when their children have severe illnesses and conditions and they know that cannabis based products would ease their suffering, and yet they cannot access them, or if they access them, they are breaking the law to do so. That is not right.

“While we disagree with the mechanism that the People Before Profit Deputies envisage for the regulation of these medicines, we will support this Bill to proceed to Committee Stage where we will table appropriate amendments. It is our view that these products should be regulated by the Health Products Regulatory Authority (which has taken over from the Irish Medicines Board) like any other medicine that exists.

“However, the important thing is that whatever structure in place, there must be meaningful access to it. It must not be introduced and then effectively banned through a series of insurmountable bureaucratic hurdles.

“It is an important initiative in the development of healthcare in Ireland and I welcome the opportunity to vote in favour of the Bill.”