Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Thalidomide victims condemn payouts

Health minister Mary Harney says she hopes thalidomide victims would see a compensation package as 'fair and compassionate'
Health minister Mary Harney says she hopes thalidomide victims would see a compensation package as 'fair and compassionate'

Thalidomide victims have said they deserved better after they were offered 62,500 euro each under a revised compensation deal.

Health minister Mary Harney, who met groups representing survivors to announce the package, said she hoped it would be seen as fair and compassionate.

But Fionnola Cassidy, spokeswoman for the Irish Thalidomide Association, said survivors were shocked that the two million euro package was the only offer open to them after campaigning for so long.

"I think there is nobody who would be able to accept that this is a fair and equitable agreement now after 35 years," she said.

"It does not give us a provision for the future."

Included in the deal is the one-off 62,500 euro payment costing the Government two million euro; a further annual individual payment of up to 3,680 euro for the worst affected; individual assessments for special care packages; a senior Health Service Executive manager to liaise with survivors; and an appeal process to ensure transport needs are met.

Ms Cassidy welcomed the personal health assessments.

Ms Harney said: "The Government's decision to provide additional financial assistance and other services reflects our sympathy for the 32 survivors and their families, whose lives have been so severely affected by this tragedy. The Government pays tribute to them."

She added: "We hope that they will accept the offer of additional financial assistance and supports as a fair and compassionate measure."

Survivors hit out at the lack of an apology, claiming that it may lead to an admission of liability and potentially open the door to claims. "The Irish state allowed the Thalidomide drug to remain on the market for a further seven months after it was advised that it was causing birth defects," Ms Cassidy said.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz