A nine-year-old girl has been awarded an interim payment of €8 million for the next ten years to settle her legal claim over the circumstances of her birth.

It is believed to be the highest-ever settlement in such a case.

Cork University Maternity Hospital apologised to Caitlin Twomey and her mother for the life-changing injuries she suffered.

Caitlin Twomey and her mother, Michelle, were in court to hear the judge approve a settlement achieved after what was described as "hard-fought" mediation.

The court heard signs that Caitlin was in distress during her mother's labour were "unobserved or misunderstood".

A hormone used to stimulate contractions should have been reduced or stopped.

Instead, Caitlin was delivered on 13 December 2011 in a very serious condition.

She suffered a very severe brain injury and is profoundly disabled.

The court heard the hospital had denied liability for five-and-a-half years. But last month, it apologised unreservedly to the family.

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Senior Counsel Dr John O'Mahony said the settlement of €8m would provide for Caitlin's needs until she is 19 years old, at which point her family will have to come back to court.

He said the ultimate value of the case was around €55 million and it was the highest-ever such settlement.

However he raised concern about the continuing failure of legislation allowing for interim payments to be properly linked to increases in costs relating to care workers earnings or medical appliances.

Judge Paul Coffey praised the heroism of Caitlin's mother, whose care for her daughter was described as inspirational.

The family said they hoped Caitlin's quality of life would now improve.