The Irish Minister for Health, Mary Harney, has announced that the Irish Government is currently seeking "expert advice on whether or not there is a need, from a clinical perspective, to amend the Misuse of Drugs legislation to allow for the use of cannabis-based medicinal products".

While speaking to the parliament she also warned that "As cannabis is the drug which is most abused in Ireland, I am reluctant to loosen the controls on its use."

She also acknowledged the claims that are being made in relation to the health benefits of cannabis-based medicinal products for certain patients. 

Labour Party, Joe Costello, said that her response had been contradictory as

Ms Harney was responding to a question by Labour Deputy Joe Costello, who had asked the minister if she would reconsider her decision not to allow cannabis-based drugs to be used for the medical treatment of multiple sclerosis sufferers and other patients.

He asked if her attention had been "drawn to the fact that such drugs are legally prescribed in other countries".

Following the minister's response, Deputy Costello told the Herald: "Mary Harney's reply to my parliamentary question is somewhat contradictory. On one hand she states that cannabis and cannabis-based products are considered as having no medicinal use.

"At the same time she is aware that cannabis-based medical products may be legally prescribed in other countries and she is seeking expert advice on whether or not to amend the Misuse of Drugs Act to allow for the use of cannabis-based medical products."