Independent MEP Luke 'Ming' Flanagan has called on the European Parliament to legislate to support access to medicinal cannabis for families such as the family of nine-year-old Cork girl Ava Twomey.

Speaking in the European Parliament in Strasbourg last night, Mr Flanagan called on the parliament and the European Commission in Brussels to create the necessary legislation to provide for the legalisation of medicinal cannabis across Europe.

Vera Twomey has to travel every few months from Cork to the Netherlands to get a supply of medicinal cannabis for her daughter, Ava.

There are currently 12 patients who receive medicine cannabis by import license agreement, which involves them travelling abroad, mainly to the Netherlands.

Mr Flanagan said: "We need to see an end to the situation whereby people such as Vera Twomey and her husband Paul must, in spite of getting a licence to treat their daughter’s debilitating illness, travel six times a year to the Netherlands to get this medicine.

"They should be able to source this medicine locally. Either that or the importation of this proven medicine is delivered to their house.

The Midlands North-West MEP added: "Freedom of movement of goods is meant to be one of the cornerstones of this European Union. Let’s make the freedom of movement of this medicine a reality.

"Vera Twomey and her husband Paul have woken hundreds of thousands of people up to the fact that medicinal cannabis can help, their nine-year-old daughter is now seizure free and the constant trips to the hospital can become a thing of the past. 

"Eva now has a future we need a future be made available to all who need it."

Also during last night’s debate, Croatian MEP Dubravka Suica, a member of the European People’s Party of which Fine Gael is a member, stressed the need for continued EU financing of research into medicinal cannabis.

She said the European Commission needs to establish a legal definition of medical cannabis and it needs to be approved by the European Medicines Agency.

She spoke of the benefits of medicinal cannabis such as alleviating pain and improving muscle spasticity in people with multiple sclerosis.