position of the members of the Irish thalidomide survivor’s society (ITSS).
Ø We nether except or reject Minister Harneys offer until all aspects of the proposals are complete. We are not at all satisfied with the Ministers expectations for us to accept a take it or leave proposal, without provision of information or an in-depth symposium regarding the detailed elements of the proposals, or timeframes for implementation.
Ø We cannot comprehend why we would be pressed to agree to Minister Harney’s resent public dictum, quite simply because, there are no details of what we are accepting. We cannot possible accept the monitory part of Minister Harney’s proposal if a health care package is not adequate to maintain our financial burden's.
Ø We have met with and had written correspondence with the State Claims Agency. This meeting was instigated by the Oireachtas Committee on Health / Children. We are thankful and recognise the value of the advocacy work done by the Oireachtas Committee and welcome their undertaking of the cause of the Irish thalidomide survivor’s. However, it was apparent after our meeting with State Claims Agency that a resolution to our case had already been reached and that our input was of very little consequence. We were also very troubled to find that there were serious inaccuracies concerning the content of our meeting published in the body of the final State Claims Agency report.
Ø There is too much emphasis is on the UK government settlement. We feel the public are not fully informed to the UK circumstance and we find the state claims agency is in the same predicament, the government in the UK, has agreed to make a three year grant of £20m to help meet the health needs of thalidomiders. The trustees of the will be free to apply these funds as they see fit. All grants from the Welsh Scottish and Northern Irish will be paid in one lump sum to the trustees of the British thalidomide trust and added to the already existing fund of approximately €140 million which is likely to be increased by contributions from the devolved administrations in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on a ongoing basis. Support has been received from all parties in the House of Commons and it is fully expected to secure funding on a more long-term basis after 2012 for the rest of the lifetime of the thalidomiders.
Ø Concerning transport difficulties, majority of us already avail of the Disabled Drivers Schemes and disability allowance as we are entitled to do so as Irish disabled citizen with mobility problems. These schemes have been available to those of us who require assistance many years. Therefore, Minister Harney is merely giving us what we already have. For those of us that need extensive adaptations, these schemes alone fall extremely short of the financial costs to our more severely debilitated Thalidomider’s. The costs of adaptations can vary as much as our disabilities. We have already drawn attention to this in previous meeting with Minister Harney and were promised that this would be resolved. However, how this is to be achieved as with all other aspects of Minster Harneys proposals is still vague.
Ø We are only thirty one persons eleven severely disabled and have lead very challenging lives,
Minister for Health and Children has authorised access to the Department records associated with the Thalidomide Settlement of 1974. As soon as these records are released, it is our intention they will be examined by our legal representatives.
Finally, In terms of our continuing relationship with the department. We wish to have a more progressive dialogue / additional input and without media involvement. as opposed to a public rejection concerning the said proposals.