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Compromise from drafters should make it possible for Medicinal Cannabis Bill to proceed - Louise O'Reilly TD

9 November, 2017 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Speaking before the debate on the motion regarding medicinal cannabis today, Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Louise O’Reilly has said that assurances and compromise from the drafters of the Medicinal Cannabis Bill should make it possible for Medicinal Cannabis Bill to proceed.

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“Sinn Féin supports the legalisation of medicinal cannabis where it has been deemed medically necessary for a patient by their clinician, in consultation with their patient and/or parents or guardians.

“The issue of medicinal cannabis is one of which there are a wide range of views and opinions. But it should always be looked at from a medical and health perspective, and we should always defer to the medical experts and patients advocacy groups on such issues.

“That equally means that when it comes to legislating for medicinal cannabis that we as TDs and Senators must take our jobs extremely seriously as legislators. That is what we have done to date from second stage through to now.

“It should be noted that there are still parts of this legislation which are flawed, and will remain so until amended. There was a great deal of misunderstanding, bordering on disinformation when it came to this Bill and for it to be held up as the final and complete answer to patients and their families as regards access to medicinal cannabis was not fair.

“Indeed, at second stage Sinn Féin outlined many concerns we had about this Bill and the possible unintended consequences it may have. At that point in time we stated that we would reserve the right to scrutinise Deputy Kenny’s bill at the Health Committee and amend to make fit for purpose and bring it in line with our party policy.

“We still hold those concerns, but as a party we believe that the process of legislating and scrutinising should continue so long as there is an acceptance that this Bill is flawed, but that the drafters are willing to work with others who support its objectives and they are prepared to compromise on sections which go beyond the objectives of the Bill and address said flaws and therefore ensure that the legislation achieves its set aims, legalisation of medicinal cannabis.

“The drafters of this Bill approached us in good faith and articulated their acceptance of our concerns around the complexities of this legislation and the unintended consequences this Bill may have.

"They have liaised with myself and my colleague Deputy Jonathan O’Brien and in the interest of progressing this Bill and working towards legalising medicinal cannabis they have agreed to compromise on a range of areas of the Bill which are beyond the scope of legalising medicinal cannabis.

“We respect the drafters of this Bill as colleagues, legislators, and progressive politicians. Therefore, as a party we accept their bona fides when they show they are willing to compromise and amend sections of the Bill in order to ensure that it is just for the legalisation of medicinal cannabis.

“Given these assurances we are confident that we can work with Deputy Kenny, who has shown a willingness to compromise, in order to deliver strong legislation which will work for those who need medicinal cannabis.”

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