Dáil debates

Thursday, 7 October 2021

Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate

Thalidomide Victims Compensation

4:25 pm

Photo of Chris AndrewsChris Andrews (Dublin Bay South, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

5 o’clock

As I predicted, I have not heard anything new. What has been said by the Minister of State is the same as what has been said for the past ten years. Survivors are fed up, angry and annoyed. There is no commitment to and no hope or empathy for a group of survivors who are ageing and concerned for their futures. How can the Minister not meet this group? This has been going on for years. As I said, in 2018 he was gung-ho in his support for them and said they needed justice. Now he is paying lip service to this group. They are a courageous group of survivors who had mountains to climb from the moment they were born. They were still able to make a valuable contribution to society.

The Government does not see fit to even meet them. It is willing to spend millions taking them to court and fighting with them instead of sitting down to meet with and acknowledge them. I do not believe that there is any barrier to meeting them. We have heard that the courts are an obstacle, but the reality is that can be overcome . The Minister of State, Deputy Chambers, wanted to introduce legislation and address certain issues. He has again turned his back on these people. I cannot understand that. It was mentioned that there are 32 people involved. That is a very small number. How can the Government not sit down and talk with a small group of people face to face, say that it got it wrong and is at fault and that it will work with the survivors to rectify matters in a just and fair manner? Meeting survivors has to be the first step.


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