Irish Mother who campaigned to legalise medical cannabis to stand for election

  • Yvonne Cahalane’s son, Tristan, was first child in Ireland to be given a medical cannabis license
  • Tristan suffers from severe epilepsy, suffering up to 20 seizures a day before medical cannabis
  • Yvonne will stand as a Fine Gael candidate for West Cork in the local elections next week

An Irish mother who’s tireless campaigning helped bring medical cannabis to The Emerald Isle is expected to be added to the voting ballot in next year’s local elections.

Yvonne Cahalane is planning to stand as a Fine Gael candidate in West Cork, recently confirmed that she is being put forward at Fine Gael’s selection convention next week, with the expectation that she will be added to the ticket. Yvonne made headlines in 2015 after launching a fundraising appeal to send her epileptic son, Tristan, to the US for specialist medical cannabis treatment.

Tristan suffers from Dravet Syndrome, a rare and severe form of epilepsy, and could experience up to 20 seizures a day, with some of the more intense seizures lasting up to an hour.

Cannabis child epilepsy medical cannabis
Cannabis Warriors: Yvonne with her brave young son, Tristan

Yvonne and her son became “cannabis refugees,” being forced to relocate to Colorado, where Tristan went through a year’s treatment with a specialist medical cannabis doctor.

Tristan made history in December 2016 when he became the first person in Irish history to be licensed to import medical cannabis products.

While Tristan’s medical cannabis treatment regime is monitored by two Irish doctors, the pair has to travel to the Netherlands every few months to pick up his actual medication.

The treatment seems to be working well for the young boy, as his symptoms are more under control and he is now attending a mainstream school, but Yvonne insists that it is not a cure.

Despite this being a controversial issue, Fine Gael were the only ones who took this up and did something about it.
– Yvonne Cahalane

Discussing why she decided to stand for Fine Gael, Yvonne commented:

“When we were in a desperate situation, we asked for help, we asked everybody for help. We didn’t just focus on one political party.

“Despite this being a controversial issue, Fine Gael were the only ones who took this up and did something about it.

“If I can put myself in a position to help those who helped us, to stand beside the party that helped us, I can’t think of a better way to thank them.”

Yvonne’s background in law demonstrates that she is more than qualified for the position and that Fine Gael are not just piggybacking on her recent celebrity status to gain seats.

She began studying law at Griffith College, with her vast research on medicinal cannabis leading to her being asked to make recommendations the Oireachtas Health Committee ahead of the drafting of the proposed Medical Cannabis Access Programme in February 2017, which appear to have stalled for the moment.

Her priorities if elected to Cork County Council include ensuring Dunmanway’s playground becomes one of the most inclusive in the country, through the addition of extra disability friendly equipment.

Fearless mothers have been integral to helping present medical cannabis as a positive in the national narrative. We can only hope that more use their position to help the legalisation effort progress further.

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