Fianna Fáil Whip Seán Ó Fearghaíl has called on the Government to ensure there is a speedy resolution for those affected by Thalidomide in the 1950s and 1960s, despite a breakdown in talks on compensation.

Deputy Ó Fearghaíl said: “I am disappointed to hear today that talks between the Irish Thalidomide Association and the government have broken down and that legal action will now be pursued by ITA members with the Injuries Board.  I think it is important to avoid a complex legal route on this issue which could take a long time and further add to the difficulties being experienced by survivors.

“I worked closely with the Irish Thalidomide Association as Chair of the Health committee in the last Dáil and I know the offer of compensation was a significant step forward for them which in itself was long overdue.  What has always been an integral part of what the survivors required was a comprehensive care package.  As they have gotten older it is now more difficult for them and their family members to cope with day to day activities and more home-centred care and assistance is required.

“I believe the Minister should immediately ensure there is a care package put in place for each survivor and that the needs of each are assessed to ensure the packages are specifically designed to meet their needs.

“This is a small number of people who suffered physical disabilities as a direct result of the drug thalidomide.  They deserve to be dealt with compassionately and without undue delay and I will be seeking to raise this issue with Minister Reilly in the Dáil this week.”