Army hearing claims `cancer' on Department


The Minister for Defence said he was doing his level best to deal with the issue of Army deafness claims. He wanted to take it away from the courts scenario and set up some form of tribunal to handle the claims and cut down on horrendous legal costs.

Mr Smith described the compensation claims as the largest single policy issue to have ever arisen in the defence area - "that is the proverbial avalanche of Army hearing loss claims, an ever-growing malignant tumour, a cancer on the skin of the Department of Defence".

The overriding consideration for him from day one was to have a balanced and fair approach to all claims.

The Minister said many positive steps had been taken in the Defence area and work on the White Paper was well under way.

Ms Geraldine Wall, Dublin North East, said that as an island we under-utilised our natural resources. She called for the development of marinas that would be available to everybody, particularly young people. She said the use of coastal waters seemed to be reserved for yacht clubs and the wealthy.

Mr P.J. Cleary, Sligo, said Sligo Harbour had been neglected and it had silted up. He appealed to the Government for funds to develop the harbour, which could attract commercial ships.

Mr Sean McBride, Donegal North East, said fishermen also sought changes in the social welfare and tax codes. There was huge potential for development of mussel farms and oysters.