The High Court has approved a settlement with a value of around €11 million for a 13-year-old girl arising out of the circumstances of her birth at the Coombe Hospital in Dublin.

Rachel Cooney, from Clonskeagh in Dublin, was born in March 2006. Her parents claimed foetal distress should have been identified at an earlier stage, she should have been delivered earlier by Caesarean section and oxytocin to induce labour was used over too long a period and at too great a rate. 

She previously received an interim lump sum of €2.5m. Today's settlement is made up of another lump sum amounting to €2.5m as well as annual periodic payments for the rest of her life. 

She will receive €205,499 a year until she is 18, at which point the annual payments will increase to over €329,000. 

This means the total value of the settlement is around €13.5m, the money will be used to provide for her care.

Rachel's mother, Jennifer Lambe, told the President of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly that she and her husband were happy with the settlement which was reached through mediation.

She said her daughter had very significant disabilities but was "absolutely all there" and their desire was to have her integrated into normal life as much as possible. 

Mr Justice Kelly paid tribute to the really excellent care she and her husband had given their daughter, which meant Rachel had avoided going in and out of hospital. 

He said the legislation to allow periodic payments had been awaited for a very long time. Now that it was in force, he said, it provided peace of mind to parents of children such as Rachel who would always have worried that a lump sum payment would not be enough to meet their child's needs if they exceeded the life expectation on which the amount was calculated.


The family's solicitor, Damien Tansey, said the periodic payments meant families could get whatever money was required to meet the specific needs of the child as they grew.  

Such payments are index linked, meaning they would not be adversely affected by any downturn in the economy, he said. 

He said the payments also meant families did not have to keep returning to court.  Coming to court required enormous effort each time, Mr Tansey said, and was an extremely intrusive process.

Rachel's father, Fintan Cooney said afterwards it had taken a long time to reach this point, but they were relieved they would not have to return to court. He said their daughter was a very bright child and they were glad she would have the resources she needed to reach her full potential.