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16th Apr 2018

RTÉ criticised for cutting Vera Twomey’s speech at the People of the Year awards

Kate Demolder

Vera Twomey

The national broadcaster has been accused of censoring the campaigner’s emotive plea to the Irish Government.

RTÉ has been blasted for editing medicinal cannabis campaigner Vera Twomey’s speech criticising Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and the Irish Government at this weekend’s People Of The Year awards.

Sunday night saw tireless cannabis oil campaigner Vera Twomey – whose daughter Ava is living with a severe form of epilepsy – accept a People Of The Year Award, where she gave an impassioned speech before directing her attention to Varadkar.

The Taoiseach was sat in the audience.

However, during the end part of her speech Twomey hit out at the Fine Gael leader’s government, a moment which has been edited out in the highlight video uploaded to YouTube by RTÉ.


The full clip of Twomey’s speech can be seen below.

Clip via mick daniels

Ava suffers from a severe form of epilepsy called Dravet’s Syndrome, a debilitating condition which causes seizures and the only thing that helps her is medicinal cannabis.

Twomey’s direct call out to Varadkar and the Irish Government was met with raucous applause and a standing ovation.

The cutting of such an important part of her speech did not go unnoticed by those who watched the segment online, with many taking to Twitter to criticise the national broadcaster for their part in “censoring” her speech.

Upon being bestowed her award, Twomey spoke about her ongoing appreciation for the Irish people during her quest for Ava’s rights to healthcare, before calling out the Irish Government for not bringing forward relevant legislation as of yet.

“If I was going to lose Ava, then I was going to lose Ava on the basis I had done absolutely every single thing that I possibly could, to get her something that was working for other people,” she began.

“This award is supposed to be for extraordinary people but for us, we were just ordinary people put in an extraordinary situation where we had to fight to get what Ava needed.

“We’ve been let down by the government but we were never let down by the Irish people who supported us the whole way through this for the last two years.

“It is a gift that Ava has received and that is her freedom. Freedom to live her life free from seizures and free from pain.

“To live and to grow and to be happy with a brighter future because everyone deserves that right now and into the future, not just seven people who have been granted licenses in Ireland to date but the thousands of other people that are watching here tonight, hoping and praying that legislation will be brought through to ease their pain.”

She then spoke directly to Leo Varadkar, who was sitting in the audience.

“We want it now and you’re the man to do it and we want you to do it immediately.”

Just two weeks ago, Twomey accused the government of discrimination against her daughter, Ava.

She felt her child had been targeted unfairly due to the wave of publicity her campaign received in 2017, a campaign during which she walked from Cork to Dublin for the right to vastly improve her daughter’s health.

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