2017-12-02-Ava Barry returns to Cork

After 2 years of campaigning for her daughter’s right to have access to medicinal cannabis, Vera Twomey finally displayed the licence for which she campaigned. She showed it as she, Ava, and partner Paul returned via Cork Airport from Holland on Saturday December 2nd, 2017.

Ava was in The Hague for medical care – which could easily have been provided on this island – since June, making Ava a very young (now 8 years old) medical exile.

The return of the family was eagerly awaited once it became known that the licence was to be issued. The announcement of this was made only the previous Tuesday, shortly after Minister for Health Simon Harris was made aware that the question of how young Ava Barry was abandoned by the southern ‘Republic’ could threaten his reelection.

However, young Ava has a mother of such strength and fortitude that being abandoned by the State was never going to be an insurmountable obstacle for her. Ultimately, assisted by a large array of people who would not stand idly by in the face of injustice, the State provided that which was required.

Below are photographs from the occasion of the return of the Barry family.

You can read more about the extraordinary efforts of Vera Twomey by choosing from the menu above.

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2017-12-02-Cork-Ava Barry returns
The eventual return of 7 year old Ava Barry to Cork, following extended and difficult campaigning by her mother Vera Twomey to obtain a licence for medicinal cannabis.Fullsize images may be obtained by emailing pro@tipperarysinnfein.com
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Welcome for Cannabis licence for Ava Barry, but more need help – Councillor Martin Browne

[edited]

Councillor Martin Browne of Sinn Féin Tiobraid Árann has expressed his delight at the news that his intervention last night in the case of the 7 year old medical refugee Ava Barry has yielded a successful result. Cllr Browne cautions however that there are many, many more children and families that need similar treatment.

Cllr Browne said: “I am delighted to report that Minister Simon Harris has signed a licence for medicinal cannabis for Ava Barry. This is very, very, good news for this Cork family. We’re absolutely ecstatic that this Christmas that the Barry/Twomey family can be home together in West Cork.”

Ava Barry, aged 7, former medical refugee, at her Communion.

“When we realised that the possibility of the dissolution of the Dáil could mean that Ava Barry might not return home to her family for Christmas we were deeply concerned. We absolutely had to intervene, as we did late last night.”

“Sinn Féin in Tipperary have followed the plight of Ava and her absolutely indomitable mother Vera Twomey since the start. I myself am glad to be able to say that starting in this county we connected the dots from Tipperary to Dublin to make the task of walking easier for Vera, and I thank all the Sinn Féin volunteers who helped out along the way then, and have helped up until now.”

“There were and are such a large number of people that came out to support Vera from all parties and none, both on that walk and since, that it should never have been the case that Ava had to go abroad. But she did, and the worry about that family being split up haunted us.”

Martin Browne, with Vera Twomey and Gino Kenny in Cahir, Co. Tipperary 2017-02-28.

“I hope that Vera is pleased at this point. Her achievement is immense. The work done by Gino Kenny TD in supporting her aim to care for her child cannot be overstated. His bill remains live, for as long as this Dáil remains, courtesy of Jonathan O’Brien and Louise O’Reilly among others.”

“But let’s not forget that Ava, special and wonderful as she is, isn’t unique in benefitting from medicinal cannabis. There are still so many more people who need access to this completely natural herb to live a normal life.”

“That we came as close as we did to the game of political Chicken between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil bringing down the Government, to be followed by a dissolution of the Dáil, remains a problem that the political systems of the Southern State seem unable to resolve. That those parties would even play their games before first looking after a 7 year old medical refugee all the way out in The Hague in Holland, from the little village of Aghabullogue in West Cork is worrying.”

“As a minor matter that should never have had to be debated about, the departure of former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald from the position of Táiniste is also to be welcomed.”

“But today, our thoughts are with Vera, Paul, Ava, Sophie, Michael, and Elvera and the extended Barry family and the prospect of them being at home in West Cork together for Christmas.”

https://www.rte.ie/news/ireland/2017/1128/923453-ava-barry-cannabis/

Vera Twomey in Cahir, Co. Tipperary, shortly after the start of her 260Km walk to Dublin.

Taoiseach, Táiniste, Fianna Fáil at new depths of self interest – Councillor Martin Browne

Councillor Martin Browne of Sinn Féin Tiobraid Árann has called on Táiniste and former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald to resign. He adds his voice to the growing clamour for her departure, but says neither she nor her Fine Gael and Fianna Fail colleagues in Government have shown any consideration for the effect their self-centred games may have on a 7-year old child in medical exile.

Ava Barry on her Communion day with father Paul Barry.

Cllr Browne said: “While Varadkar, Martin, and FitzGerald are standing on their hind legs all braying about which one of them is least wrong, it’s obvious to the rest of us that their only concern is their egos.”

“If Táiniste Fitzgerald doesn’t do the decent thing and step aside, there is a strong likelihood that the egos or Varadkar and Martin and their game of political chicken will go horribly wrong. If it does, what happens then to progress on medicinal cannabis, or any hope of getting young Ava Barry back home for Christmas?”

“For example, in the event of a dissolution of the Dáil Gino Kenny’s bill for medicinal cannabis would fall and the process would be set back months or years. Sinn Féin’s Jonathan O’Brien and Louise O’Reilly did marvellous work behind the scenes to keep that bill alive, while Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil would happily have seen it disappear. Gino continues to work on the bill, and while thousands of families would benefit from medicinal cannabis, none are as clearly mistreated by the Southern State than Ava Barry and her family.”

“For anyone who may not know, Ava is a 7 year old child receiving medicinal cannabis treatment in Holland. Her two sisters and her brother are younger than her, and are at home in Ireland for school. Ava cannot get the treatment she needs here, because of the inability of the State to get it’s act together. All the current wrangling between FF/FG serves to do is increase the risk of young Ava, her siblings and parents being forgotten and spending Christmas in a foreign State. Simon Harris’ “Compassionate Access Programme” won’t progress either when he’s out on the campaign trail.”

“Southern Ireland has long had a questionable attitude to the prioritisation and care of children, and it seems that isn’t going to change any time soon; while it’s obvious to objective observers that Táiniste Fitzgerald has a lot of explaining to do, it doesn’t seem obvious to her or the Taoiseach, and certainly not to Fianna Fáil the damage their games do. If Táiniste Fitzgerald doesn’t go and has to be pushed, the sound of Fianna Fáil crowing about their little victory will again drown out the sound of a small child’s voice seeking to be heard.”

“The depths of the self-interest of the political establishment are at a new low. Fitzgerald can start by doing the decent thing, rather than risk dissolution of the Dáil, and Varadkar and Martin might show a tiny amount of empathy or even a little Statesmanship; they could prioritise a 7 year old little girl who goes to bed at night away from a parent and from her brother and sisters, and ensure legislation is passed to bring little Ava home, before they go off on their hustings.”

Bodenstown 2017: Advancing towards Irish Unity – in the United Irish tradition

“Every Irish citizen is entitled to a home, an education, comprehensive health care free at the point of delivery, and, equal pay for equal work.” – Declan Kearney.

“To break the connection with England…and to assert the independence of my country, these were my objects. To unite the whole people of Ireland… and to substitute the common name of Irishman, in place of Protestant, Catholic and dissenter, these were my means.” – Wolfe Tone.


This is the address by Declan Kearney at Bodenstown 2017: Advancing towards Irish Unity – in the United Irish tradition

This time 220 years ago Ireland was in the midst of dramatic political and revolutionary change.

It was described as ‘The time of the Hurry’ in the poem ‘The man from God knows where’ dedicated to Thomas Russell.

The United Irishmen were the engine of that change.

Declan Kearney, Sinn Féin National Chairperson.

They took their inspiration from the new democratic and egalitarian ideals of the American and French revolutions.

They were Republican separatists committed to the promotion of anti-sectarianism, fraternity and equality.

They forged alliances across Irish society and mounted an unprecedented military insurgency in every Province.

In my own county the United Irishmen took control of towns like Randalstown and Ballymena. Local United Irish leaders such as Henry Joy McCracken, Roddy McCorley and William Orr remain household names to this day.

Jemmy Hope “The Weaver” from Templepatrick and his farseeing revolutionary vision became an ideological reference point for Fintan Lawlor and later generations of Irish Revolutionaries.

These and others personified the central tenet of emergent Irish Republicanism – the unity of Protestant, Catholic and dissenter.

Wolfe Tone famously summarised the United Irish Republican programme:

To break the connection with England…and to assert the independence of my country, these were my objects. To unite the whole people of Ireland… and to substitute the common name of Irishman, in place of Protestant, Catholic and dissenter, these were my means.”

As modern day Irish Republicans in the tradition of Tone, we are dedicated to the establishment of a national Republic, built upon equality, fraternity, unity and reconciliation between all citizens in Ireland.

Our primary aim is for an agreed, multicultural united Ireland, which celebrates diversity and equality, and shuns bigotry and discrimination.

Sinn Féin stands against all forms of sectarianism, racism, homophobia, sexism, and intolerance in society.

Today’s Ireland is one of huge social change and political realignment.

Partition continues to be the central fault line at the heart of Irish politics and society.

The imposition of the Brexit decision upon the people of the six counties has now magnified that fault line.

We are clear; Brexit is a by-product of partition and continued British jurisdiction in the North of our country.

It has now become a catalyst for a new realignment of politics in Ireland; in relations between this island and Britain: and, it is redefining politics in the British State and Europe itself.

Irish Unity has become central to the political discourse. 

Next Saturday in Belfast at the Waterfront our party will host a major national conference on Irish Unity to build on that discussion.

Many citizens are now looking beyond the Brexit fall out and towards new constitutional and political opportunities.

In the North, greater numbers of ordinary people are now more engaged with politics.

Young people have become increasingly politicised.

All that is reflected in the Assembly and General election results in March and just last week.

The election of 27 Sinn Féin MLA’s and 7 MPs with 239,000 votes is an historic high in electoral support for our party, and for progressive politics.

I want to thank every activist and supporter and all their families who contributed to these spectacular achievements; and also to all of our voters.

There is a building momentum for Irish Unity and in support of anti-unionist and progressive politics.

There is also a new, popular expectation of real, and substantial political change.

The people of the North have spoken.

Sinn Féin respects the mandate secured by the DUP.

But make no mistake Sinn Féin’s electoral mandate is a vindication of our pledge that there will be no return to the status quo: and I repeat; no citizen or section of society will be put to the back of the bus again.

In 1967 our parents and grandparents and others in this gathering set out to demand civil rights in the North. They were beaten and shot off the streets.

Fifty years later an equality revolution is happening in the six counties and it is being led by young people.

Agus tá siad tiomanta agus diongbhailte. Tá siad dearg le fearg agus tá muid go léir dearg le fearg.

For the first time since partition electoral support for political unionism has fallen below 50%.

These are the new realities.

And this is the new context for the current round of political talks.

Let us be clear – the political crisis in the North can be resolved.

The political institutions can be re-established.

However, that means the DUP and British government need to get the message – which they have ignored since Martin McGuinness’ resignation on 9th January.

So I will spell it out.

The equality and rights agenda is not negotiable.

Agreements previously made on equality, rights, parity of esteem and legacy must be implemented.

The Good Friday Agreement cannot be unpicked.

The political institutions must not be misused to advance institutionalised bigotry.

Continued refusal by the DUP and British government to accept these fundamental positions will create only one outcome: a future of permanent political instability.

The DUP have spent the last week in talks with the British Government trying to strike a deal which will keep the Tories in power.

As with Brexit, any deal with Tories will be bad for the economy, public services and for citizens.

This Tory government cares as little for working-class unionists as it does for working-class republicans.

Working-class unionists did not vote for Tories.

The DUP leadership know that. They know the north is of no consequence in Westminster.

Even Edward Carson recognised this nearly 100 years ago. He said:

“What a fool I was… in the political game that was to get the Conservative party into power.”

The central fact is the political process in the North remains overshadowed by financial scandals.

That is why Sinn Féin stood the DUP leader down from her position last January.

The focus on her future role in an Executive is completely misdirected and premature.

That discussion will only arise when there is an acceptable implementation plan to restore public confidence in the political process and ensures that the institutions will work on the basis of proper power sharing, equality, respect and integrity.

This is a serious situation, which demands a serious focus by all parties.

It is not a game, and it is certainly not a dance.

If the DUP really wants to go into the Executive, that party needs to decide whether it is now prepared to embrace a rights-based approach to government in the North.

Instead of pretending that a crisis does not really exist, the DUP should get with the programme.

If the DUP imagines it can wind back the clock, with a Tory side deal or not, and reestablish the institutions without adherence to equality and rights, then the DUP is indeed living in a fool’s paradise.

As for the two governments, instead of talking up the prospect of a successful outcome to these talks, they and the DUP should reread Martin McGuinness’ resignation letter on the 9th January.

It sets out exactly what is required to restore public confidence, and to create the conditions for proper government in the North.

We don’t need optical illusions; we expect change!

The new Irish government now carries a huge responsibility.

The failure of the last Irish government to fulfil its obligations as a co-guarantor for the Good Friday Agreement is a national scandal.

This dereliction of political leadership must end.

The new Taoiseach and his administration should now publicly disassociate itself from the pro-unionist, partisan position of the British government.

This Irish government should bring forward a comprehensive plan for Irish reunification, including:

     – A joint Oireachtas committee on preparing for Irish unity;

     – A government White Paper on national reunification; 

     – And, specific proposals for a unity referendum on the island.

This month 40 years ago and here at Tone’s grave our comrade Jimmy Drumm correctly observed that the achievement of national and social liberation relied upon the development of a popular progressive movement for change throughout Ireland.

Today we live in an Ireland of endemic financial scandal, political corruption, gombeen elites, discrimination and sectarianism.

The strategic position articulated by Jimmy Drumm in 1977 is now more relevant than ever.

The austerity programmes imposed by Fine Gael and the British Tories have entrenched social inequality, both North and South.

None of our children should have to live in fear from poverty or austerity; inequality or discrimination; or from intolerance or sectarianism.

Social inequality is the antithesis of values enshrined in the 1916 Proclamation and the democratic programme of 1919.

Every Irish citizen is entitled to a home, an education, comprehensive health care free at the point of delivery, and, equal pay for equal work.

Instead social inequality, political corruption and financial scandal have become bywords for public policy under Fine Gael.

The new Taoiseach seems determined to take his government further to the right.

If that is his intention, then he should call a general election now, and let the people cast its verdict on that political programme.

In those circumstances Sinn Féin will go forward with our progressive political agenda.

We know where we stand, and it’s not with the gombeen men, the crooks, or fat cats.

To paraphrase Tone Sinn Féin stands with:

That numerous and respectable class of the community, the men of no property.”

Irish unity has never been more achievable. 

But that goal is only inevitable when Republicans successfully persuade sufficient numbers of our people that an agreed, united Ireland will serve their interests.

The refusal of significant sections of political unionism to embrace a shared future, and divisions caused by deep-seated sectarianism, create enormous challenges for Republicans.

Yet despite that, we must continue to show generosity of spirit, and reassurance to our unionist neighbours in the North.

As agents of change it is up to us to reach into the wider unionist constituency.

As republicans in the United Irish tradition we have to demonstrate how their rights, traditions, and identity will be accommodated in a new constitutional framework of an agreed Ireland.

It is for us to convince them that it is far better for Irish unionists to exert their influence over a progressive Ireland, instead of being reduced to stage props for a right-wing British Tory government.

Sinn Féin’s policies on reconciliation and anti-sectarianism represent genuine contributions towards the development of reconciliation between Republicans and unionists, within Irish society, and, between Ireland and Britain.

These need to be internalised and mainstreamed within our political work, both North and South.

Our generation of Republicans are history makers.

Martin McGuinness atá anois ar shlí na fírinne, and whom we greatly miss here today, as well as others in our leadership, have brought us to this point.

Now it is for the rest of us to finish that work.

We must become the nation builders.

We must continue the transformation of Irish society.

Meeting these responsibilities requires a step change in our party.

We need to be always strategically focused, cohesive, flexible and creative.

Let us be clear: building popular support and political strength is not a plan for opposition.

Our political strategy is a road map for governmental power.

So that means Sinn Féin being in government North and South.

This is our road map to achieving national democracy and a united Ireland.

But being in government is not a vanity contest.

This party is not interested in acting as a prop for the status quo North or South.

Political institutions are not ends in themselves: they should be made to work as the means to make positive change.

And of course, we must avoid being defined by the nature of the political institutions.

Sinn Féin participation in the Dáil, Assembly, all-Ireland institutions and European Parliament must be at the heart of a broader momentum for political and social change in Ireland.

If change is to be people centred, then change must be driven by the people.

A popular democratic movement for transformation needs to be developed across Ireland.

That is a progressive coalition of political, civic, community, cultural and labour activists united in support of economic democracy, sustainable public services, equality, rights, and the welfare of citizens.

These are the means of modern Republicans today.

Ireland is in transition. Our party is in transition.

The process of leadership succession has already commenced.

We have begun to implement a ten-year plan to regenerate our party with more youth and women; and enhanced skills and capacity.

Mar sin, más cearta, cothromas agus Poblacht atá uaibh –  ná habraigí é – eagraigí, tógaigí, agus déanaigí é.

Bígí línne.

If you want equality and rights – if you want fairness in Irish society:

If you really want a Republic – then just don’t vote Sinn Féin:

Join Sinn Féin – and get your family and friends to do the same.

We continue to take our inspiration from Tone.

This afternoon in Bodenstown we stand resolute in the tradition of Henry Joy McCracken, William Orr, Roddy McCorley, Jemmy Hope, Betsy Gray and Mary-Anne McCracken.

Now let us go forward reenergised and confident, to mobilise and organise, and to achieve national independence and Irish Unity.

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.

Exhume bodies from Seán Ross Abbey – Cllr Martin Browne

“Seán Ross Abbey has to be added next to the list of homes for enquiry. An excavation and exhumation process must now be begun; each human so casually buried in unmarked grave should be recorded and treated with respect.”

After hearing of reports of small bones being ploughed up in the 1980s Cllr Martin Browne of Sinn Féin has called for exhumation and respectful re-interment of young children buried in a mass grave in Seán Ross Abbey, Roscrea.

John Collins (Son of Teresa), Billy Watson (Father of Teresa) and Teresa Collins.

Cllr Browne said: “With the discovery of proof that 796 young children and babies had died and were buried unmarked in a septic tank in Tuam, our attention naturally turns to similar homes in our own locality. The Bons Secours Mother and Baby home in Tuam was only one such home, that operated in an uncaring Ireland to effectively imprison and stigmatise women who became pregnant without being married.”

“This went on for 4 decades, and in many parts of the country. In Roscrea, a similar home was the Seán Ross Abbey. It operated for about the same period of time as the Tuam home.”

“We like to think that bad things only happen in other places, and that the place down the road from us is just fine. It seems that may not be the case in Seán Ross Abbey in Roscrea.”

Margaret Rigney (Sister in law) and Teresa Collins

“Yesterday Teresa Collins of Portroe visited the home for the first time in 53 years since she was taken from there as a baby. Her family had to pay £100 in 1963 to secure the release of Teresa and her birth-Mother.”

“After several years of effort, and despite the efforts of the Nuns in the home, Teresa has made successful contact with her father in the last year, and the two of them went to the home together on Sunday 12th.”

“While there, Council worker Mike Donovan revealed that he had worked at the home in the 1980’s. When working in what is now the children burial ground, he said that the tractor he was operating ploughed up many bones, small bones, and the job they were engaged in was called off. The whole area is now changed, and this work was carried out by another contractor in the 1990s. The layout of the area in question is  now very different to the 1980s. There are two other areas on the grounds where there as yet unsubstantiated suggestions of unrecorded and mass burial of babies and children.”

“Seán Ross Abbey has to be added next to the list of homes for enquiry. An excavation and exhumation process must now be begun; each human so casually buried in unmarked grave should be recorded and treated with respect.”

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Day 9: Photographs

 

Day 9: An update from Martin

An update from Martin B.

Update

Posted by Fachtna Roe on Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Ministers must resign, or Ava Barry must be helped – Cllr Martin Browne, Sinn Féin

Cllr Martin Browne of Sinn Féin Tipperary has called for immediate action on the part of the Minister for Health and the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs to address the needs of 7-year old Ava Barry, whose Mum Vera Twomey is walking from Cork to Dublin to highlight the need for medicinal cannabis and to protest at her poor treatment at the hands of the HSE and officialdom generally, including at the hands of those Ministers.

Cllr Browne said: “I was moved when I heard of the plight of Vera Twomey and her family. When she started her walk the first time I was sure that common sense and decency would see a speedy resolution. So I was pleased when I heard that Minister for Health Simon Harris contacted her directly, and expected that she would be helped in every way possible.”

“That hasn’t happened, and instead Minister Harris seems to have been playing politics with Vera Twomey. But Vera wasn’t playing, she was being a Mum, and a very determined one at that.”

“When we heard that Vera was forced to walk again, we felt that we should help. I’d like to think that any parent who prioritises their child would do what Vera is doing; but if the State was living up to the 1916 promise to “cherish the children of the nation equally” she wouldn’t have to.”

“On Friday 25th February our PRO (Fachtna Roe) sent emails privately to Simon Harris and to Catherine Zappone calling upon them to either fix the problem now or resign. Both Ministers have failed in their primary duties, and cannot be counted upon to defend the interests of a 7-year old child. They have broken the bond with the founding document upon which the Republic lays it’s claim to legitimacy, the 1916 Proclamation. By so visibly failing to honour the commitment to children of the proclamation these Ministers are encouraging others to re-evaluate their relationship with the State.”

“I support that call for action or for their resignations and re-iterate it now. Our PRO subsequently sent those letters by registered post, with the same content, to both Ministers. Many thousands of people have since emailed those Ministers and I have not heard of anyone receiving a reply. Our PRO equally has not.”

“The situation is actually quite simple: a young child is ill, with a life-limiting illness. There’s a bunch of people in Dublin who can improve that life at the stroke of a pen. But they won’t.”

“As a parent I can empathise with what Vera is going through, and I am amazed at her determination. But I am equally amazed that these two Ministers don’t appear to have that same empathy or concern.”

“The first duty of society is to it’s next generation. If the Dublin Government won’t take responsibility, then they should resign, starting with the Ministers for Health and for Children. This is an issue around the health of a child, pure and simple.”

“The choice is easy: help this child, or step aside and let someone else help this child.”

NOTES

The letters sent are attached, and their delivery status can be checked here (Simon Harris:

https://track.anpost.ie/TrackingResults.aspx?rtt=1&items=RL654343243IE) and here (Katherine Zappone: https://track.anpost.ie/TrackingResults.aspx?rtt=1&items=RL654343230IE).

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.