Irish Thalidomide Association

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Press Room

Irish Thalidomide Association commence legal actions against the Irish State

Posted on July 9, 2012 at 8:00 AM



1.The Irish Thalidomide Association announces that it is now engaged in a political campaign against the present Government as the Taoiseach Enda Kenny, the Tainaiste Eamonn Gilmore and the Minister for Health & Children Dr.James Reilly have reneged from their individual commitments delivered to theIrish Thalidomide Association members by weaselling out of their commitments ascontained in the programme for government. All discussions between the ITA andgovernment have now ceased.


2. The ITA members have now reached or are approaching their 50th birthdays where the State has neglected to fulfil its promised obligations to ensure thatboth recompense and health care requirements of our members are addressed. Thisintolerable failure cannot be allowed to continue by the ITA as its membershealth problems are continuously deteriorating.


3. This week our members start their individual legal actions against the Stateby lodging their applications with the Injuries Board where it is expected thatauthorisations will promptly issue to allow these actions proceed with all duehaste before the Courts.


4. The ITA has received legal advice that there are significant legal concern sassociated with the protection of thalidomide children's rights in the original1975 compensation arrangement relating to fairness, appropriateness and adequacy of funds advanced at that time by the Irish State as the offer was never approved or ruled by the High Court. These issues amongst other issues will be addressed as part of this future litigation.


5. Our Chairperson Maggie Woods on her 50th Birthday starts this litigation process by lodging her injuries board application against the Irish State entities where she holds the Taoiseach, Tanaiste and Government responsible forthe present failures in the Irish States position which ironically occurs onthe day when she should be celebrating the huge achievement of surviving to 50 years young, as most of the ITA members were never expected to survive to achieve that milestone.

 6. Ironically, on today’s date Maggie reminds us "that the originalmiserly settlement offer delivered by the Irish State in 1975 was quantified onthe basis that the ITA members would not survive into adulthood, never mind seethe age of 50 years".

Also, in the intervening period, she says that "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 hitthem hard necessitating an urgent and fair response from this government which has not been forthcoming ". She implores the government even at the eleventh hour to do the right thing by her members.


7. Our chairperson Maggie Woods although small of stature is big on determination to bring Enda Kenny, Eamonn Gilmore and Dr Reilly down to size as they endeavour to weasel out of the terms of the programme for government commitment delivered to her members for the purposes of ensuring that justice can now belatedly be achieved, even if it occurs after 50 years!


8. The ITA committee is fully behind Maggie in her endeavours to achievejustice.  Dr. Austin O'Carroll ITA committee member said "Maggie maybe small of stature but she’s big on justice for our members where she won't allow the government to discriminate against them by weaselling out of the programme for government. They picked on the wrong lady when they endeavoured to take advantage of both Maggie andindeed our members as she will be like a lioness protecting her cubs as she strives for justice for our members"


9. In conclusion, Maggie indicates that "we have beaten the odds bysurviving 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"

John Stack

Campaign Organiser.


Interviews available

Finola Cassidy T: 086-9151235

Maggie Woods T: 087-8516102

Austin O’Carroll T: 087-2503643

John Stack T: 086-2159045


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