The Irish Thalidomide Association has accused Minister for Health Mary Harney of trying to ram a settlement 'down its members' throats'.

Following a meeting with the minister this morning, the organisation accused Ms Harney of adopting a 'take it or leave it' approach to a €2m fund offered to 32 survivors of thalidomide last April.

The ITA’s Austin O'Carroll said they will issue legal proceedings against the State tomorrow after being bitterly disappointed with the meeting with Ms Harney.

He said the events which led to people suffering birth defects occurred 50 years ago, and this was the first real claim for fair compensation being sought by those affected.

Thalidomide was a drug which was marketed internationally to pregnant women in the late 1950s and early 1960s as a treatment for morning sickness.

Thousands of babies were born with birth defects after the pill was made available without proper research.