Minister for Health Simon Harris has signed a licence for Cork girl Ava Barry to access medicinal cannabis.

Mr Harris was responding to Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin who told the Dáil that seven-year-old Ava, whose mother Vera Twomey had been campaigning for her, was now accessing a programme through a Dutch neurologist.

Ava has a rare, drug-resistant form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome, which can result in up to 20 seizures a day.

Mr Martin called for a timeline for the establishment of a rapid access programme for children with illnesses such as drug resistant epilepsy.

Mr Harris said while he could not comment on individual cases, he was happy to sign the third application for a licence.

In a message on her Facebook page, Ms Twomey confirmed that her daughter Ava had been granted the licence to access medicinal cannabis.

Ms Twomey said: "I just want to thank everybody for the support and everything. We’ll be home for Christmas and she's doing really, really well.

"We just can't wait to get her home to Aghabullogue and she'll be even better there. We're going to be home as soon as we can."

Solidarity-People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny has said people seeking medicinal cannabis treatment should be able to get it here in Ireland rather than somewhere else.

He said that the granting of the licence was fantastic news for Ava Barry’s family.

However, Mr Kenny said the situation threw into question how a family had to go into medical exile to seek treatment.

He said the licence system was very cumbersome.

Mr Kenny, who introduced a bill which is currently going through the Oireachtas on the regulation of cannabis for medicinal use, said the legislation should be progressed in January.