Survivors of the Thalidomide drug scandal in Northern Ireland are to receive over £1m (€1.14m) in compensation.

The cash pay outs, announced by Stormont Health Minister Michael McGimpsey, will be similar to those announced recently for survivors in England.

18 people affected in Northern Ireland will receive about £50,000 each over the next three years.

In the late 1950s pregnant women were prescribed Thalidomide for morning sickness. However, the drug was withdrawn in 1961 after babies were born with limb deformities.

Those affected have long campaigned for additional government assistance.

One Thalidomide survivor, Paul Anderson, said it was a positive response from the Stormont Executive, which would make a significant difference to the lives of those affected.