Belfast Telegraph

Thalidomide victims head for courts

Thalidomide victims have vowed to fight in the courts for a better compensation deal from the state.

Survivors of the drug that caused foetal damage and life-long disabilities said they need extra medical care having reached their 50th birthdays - a milestone they never expected to achieve.

The Irish Thalidomide Association (ITA) also accused Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and Health Minister James Reilly of "weaselling out" of pre-election commitments to meet their demands.

Maggie Woods, chairwoman, who turned 50 last Friday, will be one of the first to take action.

"The original miserly settlement offer delivered by the Irish state in 1975 was quantified on the basis that the ITA members would not survive into adulthood, never mind see the age of 50 years," she said.

"Our members, against all the odds, have contributed towards Irish society where they have led independent lives, but unfortunately in more recent years our members have seen their health decline with cardiac problems, joint difficulties etc, which have hit them hard.

"We have beaten the odds by surviving to age 50, similarly we will beat the odds by winning our legal actions against the resources of the Irish state by sheer determination and grit on our part which has served us well to date."

Dr Austin O'Carroll, ITA member, warned that Ms Woods "won't allow the Government to discriminate against them by weaselling out of the programme for government".

He added: "They picked on the wrong lady when they endeavoured to take advantage of both Maggie and indeed our members as she will be like a lioness protecting her cubs as she strives for justice for our members."

About 25 victims are this week lodging individual applications with the Injuries Board, which is expected to rule that all the cases should proceed through the High Court.

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