Thalidomide talks with Govt on compensation cease

Monday 09 July 2012 21.48
The Irish Thalidomide Association represents 25 Thalidomide survivors
The Irish Thalidomide Association represents 25 Thalidomide survivors

The Irish Thalidomide Association has said all talks between it and the Government on compensation have ceased.

It said its members will now begin lodging their legal actions with the Injuries Board.

The association said its members have reached or are approaching their 50th birthdays and claims the State has neglected to fulfil its promised obligations to ensure that both recompense and health care requirements are met.

The Programme for Government promised that talks would be reopened with the association regarding further compensation for survivors of the drug.

The drug Thalidomide was prescribed to mothers in the 1950s and 1960s as a treatment for morning sickness but caused babies to be born with physical deformities and was later withdrawn.

There are 32 survivors of Thalidomide and the Irish Thalidomide Association says it represents 25 of them.

The ITA says the compensation provided in the 1970s was inadequate.

It has received legal advice that there are significant issues relating to the protection of thalidomide children's rights in the original 1975 compensation, as the offer was never approved or ruled on by the High Court.

Speaking on RTÉ's News on One, spokesperson Finola Cassidy said the Government has reneged on its promises, saying it is "unbelievable" that survivors have had to resort to this action.

Health Minister Dr James Reilly issued a statement saying that the Government was prepared to consider a financial gesture of goodwill.

The statement added that "having taken legal advice, the minister is informed that the State does not have a legal liability for the injuries suffered by Irish survivors of Thalidomide.

"All Attorneys General who have considered this issue have concurred with this position."

Keywords: thalidomide