Dail hears call to end use of anti malarial drug by Defence Forces

The record of the Government in their treatment of current and former members of Defence Forces has been criticised in the Dail tonight.

Sinn Féin TD Pat Buckley made his comments as part of the debate on his party’s motion to end the administering of Lariam in the Defence Forces.

Deputy Buckley explained that Lariam, or Mefloquine was given to members of the defence forces as an anti-malaria drug when serving in sub-Saharan Africa.

“Things like psychotic breakdowns or suicidal ideation and impulses have been experienced by those who took it in good faith believing that their superiors had their best interests at heart. These side effects have led to tragic circumstances and deep suffering.

"More than 4,500 soldiers were given this drug by the Defence Forces without any comprehensive screening.

Deputy Buckley pointed out that many Defence Force personnel are living week to week, hand to mouth "because of the disgustingly paltry rates of pay for ordinary soldiers".

He continued: "A new member earns just €200 a week, increasing to €350 a week in their second year. The wages do not increase much more after that for ordinary soldiers.

"It is impossible in the long term for a person to feed, clothe, and house a family on such low wages. That is why families have increasingly sought further assistance from the State and this can be seen in the number in receipt of Family Income Supplement. In just three years, the numbers have more than doubled from 49 in 2013 to 124 in 2016.

"I want to commend the families of defence force members who have been campaigning hard on third issue but often it feels that the government has no interest in listening. Shelley Cotter of WPDF and all its members deserve a very honourable mention in this house.

"Hopefully soon we will see members of the defence forces being allowed the proper rights as workers to argue for better pay and conditions but until then the government should step up."

Related Articles

Call for Junior Defence Minister to resign amid Defence Forces protest

Michéal Martin warns of 'number of deaths' unless issues within defence forces addressed

Army captain excluded from promotion process while on maternity leave awarded €824k

More in this Section

Website wins €400,000 Google funding to investigate Brexit impact on Ireland

€5m settlement for woman left partially paralysed and almost completely blind after treatment delay

Gardaí release CCTV images in bid to find elderly man missing for four weeks

Four men held further over alleged murder plot against Dublin man

Today's Stories

Government ‘using Trump tactics to downplay the homeless crisis’

It wasn’t me, I was in UK, says man arrested in hotel

Home prices to keep rising for up to 7 years as supply drives market

No sale: Michael Flatley’s Castlehyde mansion off open market


Meghan Markle’s sparkle sets the stage for must-have fashion items

Not buying Irish at Christmas costs us dearly

GameTech: B-listers offer plenty of gameplay

Judi Dench branching out into her other passion

More From The Irish Examiner