Tag Archives: Vera Twomey



Previously: ‘Grave error’ in Government’s new medicinal cannabis scheme (irish Examiner, February 20)

In fairness.

Previously: Vera Twomey on Broadsheet

Peter Reynolds and For Ava by Vera Twomey

‘An extraordinary book. Vera’s achievement as a novice author matches her achievement as a novice campaigner.

I’ve worked with people who use cannabis as medicine for 40 years and I thought I was pretty hardened to the tragic and distressing stories but the tears were running down my face as I read this.

I was concerned it might be a rather turgid list of events but far from it, it is a riveting read. It is almost like a thriller, beautifully structured, it grabs you and won’t let you put it down as you have to turn to the next page.

The central message is of the inhumanity of bureaucracy and self-serving politicians who are not interested in an issue unless it can bring them easy and positive media coverage.

They are impotent in the face of lobbying from vested interests such as the pharma industry and the medical establishment and prefer to do nothing rather than risk controversy, even while children suffer needlessly.

A magnificent achievement and SHAME on Simon Harris, Fine Gael and the Irish government.

They will face judgement at the highest level for their inaction, cowardice and feeble conduct.’

Peter Reynolds President of CLEAR (Cannabis Law Reform) on For Ava By Vera Twomey (Mercier Press).

Review. ‘For Ava’. For the Shame of Simon Harris, Fine Gael and the Irish Government (Peter Reynolds)

Previously: Vera Twomey on Broadsheet

Vera Twomey

Yesterday, I asked you to recall your most memorable memory with marijuana – either for medicinal purposes or among friends on a warm beanbag.

On offer were two copies of Vera Twomey’s book ‘For Ava‘ which deals largely with medicinal cannabis.

You replied in your tens (some upset that the recreational component of the ‘erb was aired, as they were perfectly entitled to).

But there could be only TWO winners.

Millie Vanilly Strikes Again writes:

My best experience with the (medicinal) herb is my mother discovering what CBD could do for her chronic pain, and opening her mind to cannabis as a useful drug as opposed to the traditional ‘gateway drug’.

Seeing her come home from a trip to Amsterdam, pain free and having actually slept a full night (something she rarely achieves without heavy sedatives) after availing of the coffee shop services in the Netherlands was truly eye opening.

My own most memorable experience of the herb (recreational) is from EP [Electric Picncic] five or so years ago, and having my first ‘proper’ reefer and getting so delirious with laughter that I couldn’t speak and being convinced that the Eye of Sauron was just outside our tent (it was not).

Slightly Bemused writes:

“I once worked with an older lady (well, to me back then. I may have caught up on her age of that time). She had severe arthritis and could hardly move. But each day she said she rubbed cannabis oil on her hands and knees, or she could not even get out of bed.

I did not think it could be used that way, at the time.

She was also known to have a quick joint in the evenings (not each one: she said only when it got real bad.) we had some fun situations.

I never used the oil, but my joints are certainly asking for help in the mornings these days. Deep Heat works for now. While I have never smoked, I am sure I breathed in the atmosphere of the room on more than one occasion.’

Thanks all.

Yesterday: Miracles Overleaf


Thanks eoin

I have TWO copies of Vera Twomey’s book ‘For Ava’ (Mercier Press) to giveaway.

Cork-born Vera’s book charts her struggle to obtain legal cannabis for her daughter Ava, who has Dravets  syndrome and whose seizures are ameliorated by using cannabis oil.

It’s a fantastic read and an incredible story.

Now, we all know how beneficial cannabis can be for people like Ava.

But did you know cannabis can also apparently provide, to some adults (who have no existing mental conditions), profound insights, an enormous sense of well-being and uncontrollable giggles?

In fact, you may have experienced this yourself at some point in your life?

If this sounds like you, please complete this sentence.

‘My most memorable experience involving the ‘erb was___________________________________”

Lines MUST close at MIDNIGHT.

For Ava (Mercier Press)

This morning.

Medicinal cannabis campaigner and author Vera Twomey went on Cork’s 96FM Opinion Line with PJ Coogan to discuss her book ‘For Ava’.

Fergal Barry writes:

PJ asked Vera “the question she was never asked before”. Hear her fondest memory from the last few years of struggle.


From top: For Ava, by Vera Twomey, published by Mercier Press; Garret O’Callaghan

Free Thursday?

At Eason’s on Patrick Street in Cork city, from 6pm.

Former radio and TV presenter Gareth O’Callaghan will launch For Ava – a book by Vera Twomey about her daughter Ava, who lives with Dravet Syndrome, and their fight to obtain medicinal cannabis in Ireland.

Ahead of the launch, Gareth writes:

….I first heard of Vera Twomey in early 2016 when she spoke on a radio chat show about her daughter’s chronic illness and how, despite repeated efforts to get her the medication she desperately needed to help Ava stay alive, the doors of power and authority continued to slam in her face.

But Vera refused to give up.

Her beautiful book, For Ava, has just been published and it’s in all of your favourite bookshops around Ireland right now.

If they tell you they don’t have it in stock, ask them to order it for you. You can go online and order of from a variety of websites including Eason.

Vera has paved the way for so many who will benefit from her heroic struggle. Her point-blank refusal to shut up and go away, like so many others would do and have done, has meant that her daughter is now seizure free and attending school each day, and engaging in many other activities that any nine-year old child would regard as normal.

Her book is filled with stories that will make you laugh and cry. The background to her story is also an accurate reflection of the daily struggles that so many of the frontline staff within the HSE have to endure: paramedics, junior doctors, nurses, and carers.

On one particular night, an ambulance had to be dispatched from Kilkenny in order that Ava could be taken to hospital in Cork following one of her worst seizures ever. That’s a 140-mile journey that took the paramedics almost three hours!

This is a book about a mother’s love and devotion to her daughter, and it’s also a book about a small child’s terrible illness and her family’s fight for medical justice.

It is beautifully written with tenderness and compassion, but the warmhearted anecdotes are never far from the ruthless, innate determination of one woman who refused to go away and accept that the health and wellbeing of her daughter Ava would or could ever be silenced by those in the corridors of power.

If there was only one book I would recommend you to buy this year, it would be this one; and if you happen to be passing Eason’s in Patrick Street in Cork this coming Thursday evening around 6.15pm, please drop in and say hello.

It will be my honour to launch this epic book, and to introduce Vera Twomey.

Cork Book Launch For Ava by Vera Twomey With Guest Gareth O’Callaghan (Eventbrite)

For Ava (Mercier Press)

Via Mercier Press:

When Vera Twomey’s daughter Ava was diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy that causes multiple seizures a day, the family’s life was thrown into chaos. Where they hoped to find treatment and support in the medical system, they found only frustration. The only medication that would have any effect on Ava’s condition is a form of medicinal cannabis that was unavailable in Ireland.

Thus began the family’s fight to alleviate their daughter’s suffering and give her a chance at life. Faced with an intransigent system and political establishment, Vera’s campaign eventually culminated in her decision to walk from Cork to Leinster House in Dublin in protest to ask health minister Simon Harris for help in person.

For Ava tells the story of the campaign for Ava’s medication and the family’s move to the Netherlands in order to legally access the medication that would save her life. It also pays tribute to the people who helped Vera achieve her goal. Above all, this is a moving story about the lengths a parent will go to for their child’s health and happiness.

In fairness.

For Ava by Vera Twomey (Mercier Press)

Previously: Vera Twomey on Broadsheet

From top: The Transvaal Pharmacy in The Hague, Netherlands; Vera Twomey and Luke Ming Flanagan MEP

This morning, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar re-affirmed the position held recently by his Minister for  Health Simon Harris that the…

“…lack of availability of cannabis products in Ireland remains the most critical barrier to full implementation” of the [medicinal cannabis access programme] scheme”.

Mr Harris had added:

“Full establishment is dependent on the commercial operators making these products available in Ireland.”

Veteran legalise cannabis campaigner Luke ‘Ming Flanagan MEP responds:

This statement does not add up. The experience of Vera Twomey has not been that there is a problem of availability. The problem is one of importation and delivery.

As most people know Vera Twomey has acquired a license for medical cannabis for her daughter Ava. In order for Vera to get the cannabis based medicine either herself or her husband must travel six times per year to the Transvaal clinic in The Hague.

The journey involves an early morning flight from Cork to Amsterdam followed by a train journey to their destination city. The schedules mean hanging around for hours on end waiting for the return flight home.

Not the end of the world you might say. True. Far better than having no access to the medicine. Very true. Are these journey really necessary though? Definitely not. Surely the medicine can be delivered to their local pharmacy.

Well anyone who knows Vera will know that if there is a route to make this happen then she will find it.

I regularly talk to Vera on the phone. I got a phone call from her in the last fortnight. She rang me to inform me that there is already someone getting delivery to the Island of Ireland from the Transvaal clinic in The Hague.

As always with Vera she used this information to unlock a solution to her own particular situation. She established that a pharmaceutical distribution company are already bringing it here. I say here rather loosely. It is being delivered to Northern Ireland.

She has contacted the company in question and asked could they the provide the same service into the Republic of Ireland. No problem was the answer. However it would have to be agreed to by the HSE. Simple. Well so it should be.

However rather than helping her they are in fact stonewalling her. She is waiting and waiting to hear what action the HSE have taken to facilitate the medicines delivery.

Why does the state allow this to happen?

Why when there is simple solution at hand do the HSE not act upon it?

If the people involved in taking care of our health administration don’t care about the well being of those they get paid to take care of then they shouldn’t be let near the job.

I have three daughters myself. As anyone knows raising children is hard work. When one parent has to go away for the day it becomes a little bit more challenging. When one has a child with special needs that challenge is even greater. The state needs to get its act together now.

Deliver the medicine. It’s not rocket science. Minister Harris needs to stop hiding behind the “lack of availability”. It’s simple not true.’

Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan

Previously: Vera Twomey on Broadsheet

Medicinal cannabis activist Vera twomey (above) and Minister for Health Simon Harris (top)

An open letter to Minister for Health Simon Harris from medicinal cannabis activist Vera Twomey, whose daughter Ava, a sufferer of Dravet Syndrome, secured a licence to use the oil to control her seizures.

Dear Simon,

Hi, it’s Vera here –  Ava Barry’s mum. Just a quick update. Ava’s doing great, bit of an ear infection this week, but she’s rallying again, thank God.

As you know, I’m from a small little village called Aghabullogue [northwest County Cork]-  fierce Fine Geal country, actually you would get a great welcome if you ever decided to pop by.

Anyhow, I just wanted to let you know that down our way ordinary people like us are doing their research and all around the area people are using medical cannabis to heal their bodies and control and cure many serious conditions.

It’s great that people are able to find research and educate themselves on medical cannabis, isn’t it?

It would be of great benefit to all of us if our consultants and doctors were offered the opportunity to learn about medicinal cannabis its benefits and the appropriate dosage, etc. and we could work together for our better health.

I was wondering are you planning on doing anything of real value for us regarding this matter?

Aghabullogue is a fantastic spot you know but it’s very small i’m just pointing that out because there are communities all over the country much bigger than ours where people are using medical cannabis to improve their lives in massive numbers.

Remember I told you on the phone that time that you could do something really great for the people. I wonder were you listening or were you just annoyed to have to talk to that cheeky mare, aka me. well. Ether way you still could. I hope you decide to do so. We would be very proud of you to do so.

I also just wanted to let you know ill be calling in to see you there in the Dail in November with a few friends of mine Hannah Deacon Callie Blackwell and Danielle Davies.

They are great women Simon and help us, if you imagined I was firey, you’re not going to know what hit Dublin when these ladies arrive with the stories of how medical cannabis has saved their children’s lives.

So we hope we will see you there that day for a frank discussion. As they say it’s good to talk.

Seems to me it would be really a great plan to move the debate on medical cannabis back into the dail chambers for us and leglislate so ordinary people can get the medical support they need.

We will look forward to seeing you in November.

Best Regards,


Vera Twomey (Facebook)

Previously: Meeting Leo