Belfast Telegraph

Ombudsman's plea over drugs ban man

The Government has been urged to show compassion by lifting a drugs ban on a seriously ill expatriate Irishman returning home to visit his family.

The man, identified only as Mr M in court documents, lives in the Netherlands, where his palliative care includes medicines containing cannabis - an illegal drug in Ireland.

He was warned that if he visited Ireland, he would be arrested on entry for possession of illegal drugs.

Mr M complained to the European Commission, which found Ireland had not breached any EU rules.

Now the European Ombudsman, who investigates complaints about maladministration in EU institutions, including the commission, has backed the commission decision.

An Ombudsman inquiry report declared: "The Ombudsman did not find any instance of maladministration as regards the European Commission's behaviour in this case. It is entirely in the hands of the Irish authorities to solve this case."

But, referring directly to Mr M, the Ombudsman P Nikiforos Diamandouros went on: "Notwithstanding these findings, I have been deeply touched by your case.

"Although the law and institutions of the European Union are unable to provide a solution, I am not aware of anything that would prevent the Irish authorities from exercising discretion, on humanitarian grounds, to allow you to visit your family in Ireland, whilst continuing to take palliative care prescribed for you in the Netherlands."

Mr Diamandouros said he would now be informing the Irish Ombudsman and the President of the Irish Human Rights Commission about the case and inviting them to "take any action that they may consider useful".

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