Cannabis can be good for you – Gino Kenny TD & Dr Peadar O Grady

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There was great joy in the Dáil last Thursday with the passing of the People Before Profit Cannabis for Medicinal Use Regulation Bill 2016 through its second stage. The Dáil gallery was overflowing with people who use medicinal cannabis, parents with children using medicinal cannabis and their friends, family and supporters.

The international movement to improve access to safe, quality-controlled medicinal cannabis, most notably in the United States, has shown strong support from both the scientific and political realms. A good example of this confluence is the Barnes Report published in May this year. Dr Mike Barnes is a professor of neurology with Newcastle University, who, with his daughter Dr Jennifer Barnes, a clinical psychologist with the NHS, was commissioned by an all-party parliamentary group on drug policy reform in the UK to report on the scientific evidence for the effectiveness and safety of cannabis as a medicine.

To do this they carried out a systematic review, with strict criteria similar to the respected Cochrane reviews which are now out of date for cannabis, and listing the evidence in terms of “good”, “moderate”, “limited” and “theoretical”. The “good” evidence covers such common ailments as chronic pain and anxiety as well as muscle spasms, nausea and vomiting, but the report also notes that: “Overall, we conclude there is considerable literature demonstrating the efficacy of cannabis and/or available cannabis products in a number of important indications.”
Moralistic view

The all-party parliamentary group, representing the diversity of political parties in the UK parliament, co-chaired by Baroness Meacher, an independent from the House of Lords, and Caroline Lucas, a Green Party MP from the House of Commons, accepted the report in full, noting:

“At the UN General Assembly Special Session held in April 2016, we witnessed both the USA and the UN leadership reject a moralistic and prohibitionist approach to the global drug problem. Instead, the UN and US leaders called for all our proposed changes to global drugs policy. As far as the UK is concerned, it seems clear that the legalisation of cannabis for medical use fulfils the above objectives. There is now a sound evidence base for such a policy. Legalisation and licensing will promote the health and welfare of very sick people and the policy respects human rights and public health values.”

The basis for approving the use of medicines in Ireland is that: the benefits of using a health product should always outweigh the potential risks. One positive effect of the wave of legalisation across the world is the increase in quality research on the risks and benefits of cannabis-based medicines. While the research base for some types of epilepsy is still “limited”, consultant neurologist and epilepsy specialist Dr Colin Doherty summed up current knowledge about cannabis’s role in epilepsy treatment at a recent Dáil committee: “Already, it is possible to state with confidence that this drug will not work for everyone, will cause intolerable, but probably not dangerous, side-effects in a few; but for those for whom it will work, it may be lifesaving.”

There are obvious areas for monitoring and further research, such as the link with mental health complications such as drug dependency and psychosis, and caution will be required in populations at risk. Fortunately risk/benefit analysis in individual cases is exactly what doctors do every day for every other medication. Legal protection and funded research provided for in the People Before Profit Bill should also mean an improvement in the quality of information available to both doctors and patients on these risks and benefits.

Cannabis as a medicine has the uncommon property of having no lethal dose which means that it has never killed any patient, ever. There is a huge advantage in this, such as substituting cannabis for more dangerous drugs in terms of dependency and death, such as opioid painkillers and benzodiazepine sedatives. The benefit of fewer side-effects and overdoses is already being seen in countries which improve access to medicinal cannabis.
We are very grateful to the patients and parents who have supported the campaign for safe access to medicinal cannabis. We look forward to passing the Bill through its final stages with any necessary amendments to ensure that medicinal cannabis is available to those who would benefit from it where those benefits outweigh the risks.

Gino Kenny is TD for Dublin Midwest. Dr Peadar O’Grady is People Before Profit health policy adviser and a consultant child psychiatrist

Irish Writers in Support of Jobstown Not Guilty

In an era where white collar criminals who steal millions and destroy the economy meet gardai by appointment with their team of solicitors, a 16 year old had 10 gardai bang on his door and arrest him before school over a protest at which nobody was even injured. There is no longer a single accountant in this state dedicated to tackling crime in the banking and financial services sectors, yet 20 gardai were assigned to collect evidence against people from one of the most disadvantaged areas in the country for engaging in the type of protest that Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and many senior members of the Labour Party employed in the past. This is an unprecedented attack on the right to protest. Civil disobedience is our last line of defence against being further defrauded by this corrupt state. If civil disobedience is criminalised the average citizen have no protection against whatever the state wants to do to them. These people are facing an attack from the full force of the state, we all need to support them as they courageously resist this sinister development, because they are doing this on behalf of every citizen.

Frankie Gaffney

Éire 2016

Bhí dream ann a rinne dia beag den ampla
‘s a chreid sa Tíogar Cheilteach mhiotasach,
a thóg na heastáit thréigthe ar fud na tíre,
‘s a bhain na bonnaí as nuair a tháinig an crais.

Tá na heastáit fágtha inniu mar iarsmaí
‘s na súmairí á nochtadh achan lá,
na mílte daoine ar leacacha na sráide
‘s ní chaomhnaíonn an stát a clanna uilig go cothrom.

Éire 2016

There were those who worshipped mammon,
and believed in the mythological Celtic Tiger.
They built ghost estates thoughout the land
and disappeared when the crash happened.

The estates are now left in ruins,
Swallow holes appearing every day.
Thousands are sleeping on the streets
and the children are not all cherished equally.

Both by Máire Dinny Wren

I support and stand with Jobstown Not Guilty, because I fully believe in the right of the citizen to oppose the state through civil disobedience, we must be always be able to use protest as a means to let our governments know when we want change, when we are against unjust laws or charges or decisions taken by government which we see to be made not for the good of the citizens or only made for the good of the few against the many. As in the case of the water charges. Water is life, literally. Those who wish to control and own OUR water, seek to control and own life, OUR life. The statement being made by the ruling class is don’t fuck with us, don’t oppose us or you will be punished by us. Is this a government or a Mafia? But we are winning the right to water, and when we do, why stop there, lets come for the gas and electricity next, WE the people own that too!!

Karl Parkinson

In an era where white collar criminals who steal millions and destroy the economy meet gardai by appointment with their team of solicitors, a 16 year old had 10 gardai bang on his door and arrest him before school over a protest at which nobody was even injured. There is no longer a single accountant in this state dedicated to tackling crime in the banking and financial services sectors, yet 20 gardai were assigned to collect evidence against people from one of the most disadvantaged areas in the country for engaging in the type of protest that Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and many senior members of the Labour Party employed in the past. This is an unprecedented attack on the right to protest. Civil disobedience is our last line of defence against being further defrauded by this corrupt state. If civil disobedience is criminalised the average citizen have no protection against whatever the state wants to do to them. These people are facing an attack from the full force of the state, we all need to support them as they courageously resist this sinister development, because they are doing this on behalf of every citizen.

Frankie Gaffney

There’s a war being waged by the governing classes in this country against equality, democracy and basic rights. Whether in education, housing, healthcare, or natural resources (including water and gas) this war is designed to benefit the richest and most corrupt sectors of Irish society – the rotten apples we’ve all been paying for. The Jobstown activists represent the communities of people who have been fighting back and taking a stand for all of our rights. They have my full solidarity.”

Ciaran O Rourke

It’s hard for me to find the words…working class people are routinely demonized, ignored. They’re the bad guys on cop shows, Jeremy Kyle punchlines. They’re supposed to die quietly of overdoses or spousal abuse. They’re not supposed to speak, to organise, to recognise injustice and peacefully protest against it. They’re not supposed to be brave or smart or know what they need. Or don’t.

The Jobstown protestors did not hurt anyone. The outrageous thing they did was to argue back against a government that has quietly bled them dry. They found their words. I’m finding mine. Not guilty.

Susan Millar DuMars

Working class activists are having their lives destroyed because they peacefully protested against their own impoverishment. It’s an old story. The Jobstown trial has been a cruel and unusual use of the state’s apparently limited resources to hammer home that all collectivity is a punishable offence. The idea that people in Jobstown ‘imprisoned’ Joan Burton is a joke, a laughable and weaponised distortion of the very definition of the word, and yet another clear example of political policing and political law meant to terrify all of us into never protesting again.

The first trial, where a former Tánaiste testified against a minor in the children’s court, was a farce and should stand as a glaring and lasting testimony to the enormous failure of the state to protect its children from the onslaught of austerity.

Oisin O Faogaoin

“The Jobstown protesters are standing up for every Irish citizen’s right to take part in protest and to engage in free expression without fear of arrest, imprisonment or persecution by the state. We must all support each other by supporting them.” –

Dr Deaglán Ó Donghaile, Liverpool John Moores University

For an opportunistic and cynical politician to milk a spurious legal case out of an act of protest is not only a waste of the courts’ time, it sets a dangerous precedent in a democracy. The bullies always pick on the young. But the people know who belongs in the dock. No amount of media smokescreening will change that. –

Peter Murphy, writer.

“The treatment of the Jobstown protesters is proof positive of Ireland’s war against the working class. It’s a war that manifests itself in every aspect of our lives, quietly, but this very public intimidation of, and brutality against, working class protestors is far from quiet. It’s a thundering, brutish reminder from the powers that powers-that-be that legitimate emotion is prohibited and resistance will be dismantled. It is our responsibility as activists to steer the narrative away from a troubling line of thinking that protest equals criminality. It is our responsibility to support our friends who find themselves flung mercilessly into the firing line.

Love and solidarity to Jobstown Not Guilty

Eoin O Faogain

The trial of the Jobstown protesters is an attempt by the establishment to exact some small revenge for the humiliation they suffered at the hands of the Anti-Water Charges movement. The amazing thing is not that Joan Burton was delayed in her car that day but that it took so long for such a thing to happen. Joan Burton should give Paul Murphy a nice big kiss for negotiating her departure from Tallaght that day; Katherine Zappone should probably be prosecuted for having invited her in the first place; and all of those charged should be given awards, perhaps honorary degrees from Trinity or NUI Galway. Back in 2014 the event – and the crazed reaction to of many so called ‘liberals’- inspired this poem http://www.rabble.ie/2014/11/23/irish-liberal-foresees-own-enduring-relevance/

Kevin Higgins

Water dampens dust. The Jobstown 23 and their fellow critics of privatisation may resemble impersonal grey sludge to Joan Burton but a closer study reveals cement and the greater the pressure, the stronger it holds. People will not be stifled by airborne particles of toxic decisions made by politicians that float and find their way into every home, poisoning minds into accepting metered allocations of daylight robbery. Protest built this country and only protest can preserve what’s left before land and lakes are sold away for private gain. Grey sludge perhaps, the people, but we shall not be moved.

Naomi Neu

“I nominate the Jobstown protest for next’s year’s Nobel prize for literature. No Irish writer in history has expressed him/her/itself so creatively and succinctly as in their current work-in-progress the ending of which the establishment want written by lazy, unelected, elite-schooled judges sitting on warm wads of austerity-proofed 50 euro notes – or their personally hand-slapped ‘juries’. Defend your right to protest and in the process help to collectively finish an important piece of world literature. Support the Jobstown Protestors.”

Camillus John.

I think Kathleen Lynn is being remembered a lot recently, with that nostalgic sepia that comes when you can discuss rebels in the parlor, though most not parlor inclined kind of people. “The bullets fell like rain. The firing came from all sides and continued till after darkness fell.”

Seems, it is nice to be rebellious of spirit, but not rebellious. Seems, the position you’re in, is perhaps the one best suited to you, and although we “Irish” do not appear to advocate a “caste system” we nonetheless have a wonderful instinctive ability to know “your place” for you.

You too should know your place.

The middle merchant classes are comfortable in the knowledge that their ability to talk best, and talk most, with the best and most protected places to talk in, almost automatically entitles them to a different seat at the National table.

The irony of the 1916 celebrations is more disgraceful in light of Jobstown, and the hypocritical treatment a century on of the state of cap wearers to the cap doffers, and cap sellers to the cap sewers.

Water charges are wrong. And protests are justified. A protest isn’t a chat in the local City Hall. Historically, protests are not been pretty. Just look at the Cochabamba Water War (maybe the Roman Catholic Church would like to involve themselves in this trial also, as in Bolivia, they have a good record of out smarting the main stream legal system.)

There is a long wrong-list I could write, but we go back to what we do best, blaming the message bringers. The message bringers for not bringing the right message in the right way with the right language, until enough time has passed to write a ballad for them, or name a bridge.

Elaine Feeney

As a member of the working class, I see every day, often at quarters all too close, the rift between the middle and upper class establishment, and the working class this establishment claims to serve. As this rift expands, we need to feel we can arm ourselves with the right to stand against our government, through peaceful means, for the protection of our values and ourselves. Jobstown Not Guilty, you have represented this right of the working class admirably. Continue to fight the good fight. We are all fighting this war together.

Nathasha Helen Crudden

This year the electorate decimated Joan Burton’s Labour Party: a democratic verdict on the policies that forced the Jobstown demonstrators to engage in legitimate civil disobedience. In suing them, the state is disguising an anti-democratic attempt to deter protest as a defence of democracy. This persecution must fail.

Raymond Deane (Composer, author, activist)

That the people in charge of our state have no more imagination than to prosecute a 15 year old for his part in a popular public protest should come as no surprise to us, they also can’t seem to imagine any alternatives to neo-liberal asset stripping for our country’s resources. That now even when the day is won they are still attempting to prosecute others who participated in a protest in Jobstown is even less surprising. Without a doubt the people who marched and boycotted and demonstrated against water charges have won a rare victory (although we will have to be vigilant not to have it snatched away from us in the future). That this victory was won without violence and without injury is yet another thing to celebrate. It will be up to us now though to make sure that the stories we tell ourselves about this time remind us of exactly how it came about because it will and is already being warped and distorted. The right to water campaign was and is a movement with solidarity and human rights front and centre and we need to show more solidarity now for all those still facing trial for their part in the Jobstown protest.

Sarah Clancy

The aim of these show trials is obvious: to raise the cost of protest in the minds of an angry populace, to price us out of the market with fear of what we might face. So the duty of solidarity is equally obvious: to keep fighting, on all fronts, in defiance of fear.

Harry Browne, lecturer and journalist

Jobstown is indicative of Ireland as a whole. A gilded numpty has the system wrapped around her finger and uses it to prosecute a peaceful protest.

At worst, the jobstown protest got a little out of hand and it required a few minutes of calming down before everything was fine and no one was hurt.

Imagine if we could say the same for the governments policies: everything was fine and no one was hurt.

Tell that to the 6,000 homeless bracing -6 cold, the 23 year old who has to live on 100 quid a week because the social welfare considers him a child, the 40 year old working his third year of a slave labour scheme.

When one thinks about the double Irish Dutch sandwich, the galway tents, the triple Bertie pensions and the lies, the damned lies, of austerity uber alles, it’s a miracle the jobstown protest was peaceful.

If this is how we treat peace, perhaps it’s a fine year for a centenary after all.

Shane Vaughan

Castro died three days ago. Since then I have not read an Irish newspaper or listened to Irish radio. I gave up the TV years ago. The reason is that I know exactly what they will say. They will wheel the enablers of billionaires out to tell us that Castro was a bad thing, to make fun of his country, to point to the great superiority of ‘our system’ over communism – as if having the best health service in the world and 100% literacy were not something Ireland could only dream about. As if having the richest country in the world with the biggest weapons industry on your doorstep, blockading you, invading you, attempting to assassinate your leader and conducting a continuous propaganda war were some wort of minor irritation.

Ireland is a country where a child is jailed for detaining a politician for two hours in a variety of police cars, protected by armed police officers. Where a coalition of men priests and men politicians tell a woman what to do with her womb. Where a coalition of men priests and men doctors let a woman die in childbirth because she couldn’t have and abortion, force-rehydrate a woman who had been raped because she couldn’t have an abortion. This is a country where it takes almost two years for a child to get an appointment to see a specialist if they’re suffering from a crippling disease. This is a country where a ‘recovery’ involves shipping 80,000 young people a year to other countries, cutting payments to disabled people, while at the same time paying politicians a wage increase. This is a country where there is legal and illegal corruption at every level of the the state.

But this is also a country that is learning to fight back. We’re getting up off our knees. These prosecutions are the clearest sign that Power is trembling. Why else would they go to so much time and expense to prosecute people for such a non-crime as protesting?

The politicians see what’s happening. They see parties of the Left providing a more hopeful future, a way of thinking about politics which doesn’t involve bribing county councillors or paying off media billionaires. They know that once the idea takes hold that THERE IS AN ALTERNATIVE and that alternative is socialism, then they will see their cosy little arrangements go up in smoke. No more retiring from politics to take up seats on various boards of directors. No more being paid for speeches. No more handing rich contracts to your friends and relations. And no more criminalising protest.

The future, to use James Connolly’s words, will see ‘the Irish nation as the supreme ruler and owner of itself, and all things necessary to its people’.

William Wall

Burton, you claim to have been trapped in a car, but have you ever been trapped in poverty or a ghetto of unemployment? ever felt trapped by hopelessness in a system you have no control of? where are those court cases – oh no, we can’t afford them.

Jessamine O Connor

This year the electorate decimated Joan Burton’s Labour Party: a democratic verdict on the policies that forced the Jobstown demonstrators to engage in legitimate civil disobedience. In suing them, the state is disguising an anti-democratic attempt to deter protest as a defence of democracy. This persecution must fail.

Raymond Deane (Composer, author, activist)
‘Slovenia adds water to constitution as fundamental right for all, to protect it from future privatisation’, November 2016.

Jobstown Water Protectors will be remembered in history as those that made a stand against water privatisation.

Those that have stated ‘they can’t expect to get everything for free’ crowd, will be remembered in history something like this

‘Later, middle class protesters, aggrieved by the Rising, gathered outside the Coombe hospital when Mallin’s wife, Agnes, gave birth to Maura Constance’. 1916

Solidarity is the way forward, we have many human rights battles to win. We all have a choice to be on the right side of history or not, the story will be told.

We can make Ireland the best little country in the world together.
I inherently believe we are good people.

Gillian Brien, Intersectional Human Rights Activist, Manager Youth Service

It’s a no-brainer, if the water charges have been dropped, so should the jobstown charges be dropped at once.

Adam Wyeth

“When a woman gives birth to her son/…..she would storm the world,/ punch armies aside/ to reach him, hold him, comfort him.” When ten gardaí haul a child from his bed, stop him from going to school and accuse him of being a ringleader of a legal protest, it is time to storm the world. As a peaceful water protector I saw similar state bullying and assault at Woodburn Forest this year: heavy-handed unjust arrests, point-blank tear-gassing of an assault victim; police protection for a private company whilst intimidating the citizens they are supposed to protect. More power to your elbow Jobstown 23.

Judith Lowan’s Thurley

I wonder how Joan Burton would like it if the Jobstown protesters busted into her house at 4am, all Irish riot gear, Hurley and Sliotar, and stole her out into the night in front of friends and family to falsely put her on trial. Except she’s done much more to “disturb the peace” than innocent water protectors from Jobstown.

Niall Donnelly

If the State can rest easy knowing it can wrongfully imprison members of the populace, especially its young men and women, for quite justifiably exerting their democratic right to protest oppressive governmental policies that seem designed purely to hurt the most vulnerable, then it makes one seriously worried about the state of democracy of modern Ireland.

Daniel Wade

Smashing the Mirror – William Wall’s Foreword to The Word In Flames, by Dave Lordan

“Ireland suffers from a surfeit of embedded intellectuals. Approximately the equivalent of the embedded journalist reporting from the ‘front line’ during the Iraq war, they report that all is well with the regime and that the class war is proceeding exactly as planned; they suggest adjustments—a little more empathy here, a little less there, fewer people on trolleys in hospitals (but still trolleys), better policing of protests (but still the police), remember the dead of both sides, and so on. Their well-placed articles and interviews pass as the true voice of the critic. These are the intellectuals that Gramsci calls the ‘organisers of culture’. On the other hand, Gramsci tells us, all classes, including the working class produce their own ‘organic intellectuals’, though working class intellectuals are rarely recognised as such. Every once in a while, though, such an organic intellectual pushes through, by sheer strength of will and intellectual capability, the dense network of disciplinary and punitive systems that are designed to control the working class. Such a person is rare in Ireland, because public life works to hedge around and make precarious the voice of the outsider who has not been to the right school or played the right games. Dave Lordan is one such voice….

 

Read the rest of the foreword over at The Stinging Fly

Read all about The Word In Flames – Essays in Literature & Revolt here

Watch the Book Trailer Here

Visit Dave Lordan’s new website here.

The Word in Flames – Essays on Literature & Revolt – New E-book from Dave Lordan + book trailer

Paypal address: dlordan@hotmail.com. Suggested Donation 10 euro.

My e-book of essays on art, literature, social change & multimedia creation THE WORD IN FLAMES is ready to go.

The suggested donation is a tenner, paid through my paypal account, the address of which is dlordan@hotmail.com.

Copies of the e-book can be read on any device such as a smartphone, tablet, iPad, PC, Mac, Laptop, Desktop etc. You don’t need a paypal account to pay through paypal – any debit or credit card will do.

Smaller & larger donations than a tenner also welcome.

All proceeds will go straight to me, the writer of the book! & will go towards buying me more writing time, & upgrading my audio & video equipment. Since taking up videography in early 2016 I have voluntarily made over 100 videos for grassroots artists, community groups, & social movements. If you think what I do has any value, please do consider making a solidarity donation in exchange for the book.

But first, here’s what some deep-thinking activist heads have to say about The Word in Flames:

“The Word in Flames” confirms Dave Lordan’s stature as the most original, incendiary and impassioned voice writing in Ireland today. The combined lyricism and potency of his writing confronts the reader, forcing us, as all great writers do, to see the things we are unwilling or forbidden to know.

Dr. Sinéad Kennedy Department of English, Maynooth University & Secretary, Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment (pc)

Irish writing has not seen prose as brilliant as this since the Enlightenment. With the clarity of Orwell and an indignation reminiscent of Swift, Dave Lordan identifies the tensions and responsibilities that crystallise within great art, whenever artists are brave enough to allow them to do so. 

Dr Deaglán Ó Donghaile. Author of Blasted Literature: Victorian Political Fiction and the Shock of Modernism. Senior Lecturer in English Literature Liverpool John Moores University

If you like polemic to be scalding, defiant, revolutionary and erotic, then you’ll relish this book. By turn erudite, poetic, auto-biographical and scholarly (often all of these at once), this is an important anthology of essays by Ireland’s only literary prophet. Beware, it will make you a disciple.

Conor Kostick, Author of Revolution in Ireland (Cork University Press,) 2009

“Every once in a while an organic intellectual pushes through, by sheer strength of will and intellectual capability, the dense network of disciplinary and punitive systems that are designed to control the working class. Such a person is rare in Ireland, because public life works to hedge around and make precarious the voice of the outsider who has not been to the right school or played the right games. Dave Lordan is one such voice.”

William Wall, Author of This is The Country.

Donate to Dave Lordan’s Community Funding Appeal at paypal address dlordan@hotmail.com, & receive a copy of e-book The Word In Flames.

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I Am Pleased To Congratulate On Behalf Of The People Of Ireland by Kevin Higgins

anti-trump

after Enda Kenny

Donald J. Duck on his election
as forty fifth, and possibly final,
President of that great entity
traditionally known as the United
States which, admittedly,
by the time he’s finished with it,
will likely be called something else.

In the heat of battle President-elect
Duck has said things
which have left him with bridges to build
with certain people, such as Mexican
transsexuals, and women
who don’t want him,
or anyone politically
associated with him even thinking
about grabbing their
vaginas, or the vaginas of their
friends, mothers-in-law, or
as yet unborn children.

We think today in particular of
Secretary of State Clinton,
though only very briefly,
for eaten parsnips are quickly
digested, and we must move on.
Democracy (and, for that matter,
dictatorship) have their own outcomes.
This being the case, if President-elect
Duck wants to build a crazy golf course
in every front garden on this island,
I will work closely with compliant
urban district councils, sympathetic
journalists, and members of the judiciary
to have the necessary planning
fast-tracked.

And rest assured, every opportunity
that presents itself, either
I or one of my Ministers will be there
to shake his hand,
or any other part of his anatomy
President-elect, Donald J.
Duck, wants shaken.

 

 

Kevin Higgins is The Bogman’s Cannon Satirist-in-Residence