Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Health
Thalidomide Victims Compensation
564. To ask the Minister for Health the support services available for persons who have been adversely affected by the use of the thalidomide drug; his plans to increase wrap-around support for an association (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2769/20]
Following an Irish Government decision in 1975, the Government granted an ex-gratia sum equivalent to 4 times the German lump-sum and an ex-gratia monthly allowance for life equal to the German monthly allowance to each of the Irish children found to have thalidomide related injuries. The German monthly payments are made by the Contergan Foundation, which is established under German legislation. From 1st August 2013, the Contergan Foundation substantially increased its monthly payments to thalidomide survivors, including Irish survivors. There are currently 29 Irish people in receipt of ex-gratia monthly payments from my Department.
Both the German payments and the Irish ex-gratia payments made to the survivors are exempt from Universal Social Charge, tax, including DIRT and are not reckonable as means for the purpose of Social Welfare payments.
In addition to the payments outlined above, the supports provided to each Irish survivor include a medical card on an administrative basis regardless of means, provision of appliances, artificial limbs, equipment, housing adaptations and access to a full range of primary care, hospital and personal social services.
Since 2010, there is a designated senior manager in the Health Service Executive who acts as a liaison to assist Irish survivors to access health and personal social services.
In 2013, 15 of the survivors accepted a further Government payment of a once-off ex-gratia payment of €62,500 each.
It is important to note that it is open to any Irish person to apply to the Contergan Foundation for assessment of their disability as being attributable to thalidomide. Any Irish person who establishes that their injury is attributable to thalidomide will be offered appropriate supports by the Irish Government, commensurate with those currently provided to Irish thalidomide survivors, as outlined above.