Thalidomide survivors call for action

The Irish Thalidomide Association said it had been forced to take the State to court, putting existing payments from the German Contergan Foundation at risk.

The Irish Thalidomide Association said it had been forced to take the State to court, putting existing payments from the German Contergan Foundation at risk.

Sat, Feb 2, 2013, 00:00

Irish survivors of thalidomide have called on Minster for Health James Reilly to honour commitments made in the programme for Government to provide long term health care and support.

The Irish Thalidomide Association said it had been forced to take the State to court, a move that was putting payments made by the German Contergan Foundation, set up to compensate survivors, at risk.

The move comes after it was announced yesterday that German thalidomide survivors would get additional entitlements. Survivors in the UK and Australia have also been granted increased entitlements.

The association said previously agreed compensation payments were not formally approved by the High Court and were unenforceable.

“All of us have reached our 50th birthdays, our health is deteriorating,” the association said in a statement. “We have cardiovascular problems and our deformed limbs are wearing out. While other countries have recognised the special care needs of Thalidomide survivors the Irish Government has failed to provide adequate health care and recompense for us.”

Thalidomide was given to pregnant women in the 1950s and 1960s to help counteract the effects of morning sickness. However, in some cases it caused deformities in developing foetuses.