The group representing thalidomide survivors has accused the Government of "bully boy" tactics in its negotiations over compensation.

The Irish Thalidomide Association said an offer made yesterday by the State of €62,500 for each of the 32 Irish survivors was not acceptable.

However, the Department of Health said six of the victims have accepted the State's offer.

Finola Cassidy said the group had hoped an interim payment would be offered, but the State instead presented it as a full and final offer.

A High Court judge rejected the compensation offer made to two thalidomide victims in a late sitting yesterday evening.

Both are severely brain damaged and were unable to assess the offer themselves.

Victims of thalidomide currently receive pensions from the German government, but campaigners fear that a change to German law, which comes into effect today, may jeopardise any settlement payments made by the State.

They are concerned that settlements could be deducted from the new regime of payments made by the German government.

In a statement, the Department of Health said it had acted in good faith.

It said solicitors for the survivors had suggested a payment be made ahead of the German deadline to avoid running foul of the new arrangements.

It said the State remains committed to re-opening discussions with the survivors regarding further supports.

The ITA rejected this, saying the offer had been presented as a full and final offer and not an interim payment.

Around 20 victims are currently suing the State and have clashed with the Government over negotiations regarding compensation.

In the Programme for Government there was a commitment to reopen discussions with the ITA about further compensation for victims.