Vera Twomey gets top gong at People of the Year Awards


Campaigner Vera Twomey believes the government now needs to legislate and put a framework in place for the prescribing of medicinal cannabis to ensure that other families do not have to go through the same ordeal as hers.
Vera made the plea after being honoured with a People of the Year Award at the 43rd People of the Year Awards, organised by Rehab. The Awards were broadcast live on RTÉ One from Dublin’s Mansion House on Sunday.
The award, in recognition of her motivating campaign, bravery and determined spirit, was presented by Rob and Marian Heffernan.
Ireland’s longest-running and most prestigious awards, the People of the Year Awards, are widely recognised as one of the country’s highest accolades. Nominated by members of the public, and finalised by a panel of adjudicators, a total of ten awards were presented at the ceremony which was hosted by Gráinne Seoige and Aidan Power.
Vera and her daughter Ava Barry (8) rose to national prominence during a two-and-a-half year national campaign to secure medicinal cannabis to treat Ava’s rare form of epilepsy. Ava has a condition called Dravet Syndrome, which causes severe, dangerous and frequent seizures, sometimes up to 500 a month.
Although Ava has taken pharmaceutical medication all her life, it has had limited impact. Eventually her parents Vera and Paul, after much research, came to the conclusion that medicinal cannabis was the only remaining alternative for Ava.
Following a persistent campaign that encompassed protest walks, demon-strations, political confron-tation and more than six months in the Netherlands accessing the treatment, Vera’s lobbying efforts finally bore fruit with Ava being issued with a special licence to allow her access to medicinal cannabis in Ireland.