The Government has offered survivors of the thalidomide controversy a new compensation deal.

The offer includes a once-off payment each of €62,500, an increase in the annual lump sum they currently receive of €3,680 and special care packages.

Health Minister Mary Harney said she hoped the 32 survivors of thalidomide would accept the offer as a fair and compassionate measure.

She said that while the Attorney General has advised that the State has no legal obligation arising from the injuries, the offer reflected the Government's sympathy for the survivors and their families.

The Irish Thalidomide Association has expressed disappointment with the Government's offer.

Spokesperson Finola Cassidy said the financial offer seemed derisory.

While welcoming the review of services for those affected, she said there had been no apology for the wrong done.