State hit with €5m compo bill for TB outbreak in prison

State hit with €5m compo bill for TB outbreak in prison

The State will have to pay the bulk of a €5m compensation payout following claims from 100 prison officers and prisoners infected by tuberculosis in a major outbreak at a prison. The State Claims Agency has revealed the payout in a letter to politicians it asked to keep hidden from the public as it is “commercially sensitive”.

In a letter to the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee, seen by the Irish Examiner, agency director Ciaran Breen said there has been a significant cost to the taxpayer due to a major TB outbreak at Cloverhill prison at the start of the decade. Mr Breen said 99 prison officers, prisoners and ex-prisoners have been infected, with the State and insurers facing a €5m compensation bill to people hospitalised.

“As of May 8, 99 claims have been received from current and former prisoners and prison officers alleging testing positive for and/ or contracting TB arising from the Cloverhill prison outbreak,” the letter read.

Of these, 71 claims have been settled or discontinued while 28 are ongoing.

"To date, a total of €2.3m has been paid in settlements and costs in respect of all these claims, while there is a further estimated outstanding liability of €2.7m.

“The State Claims Agency has reached an apportionment agreement with a medical defence organisation under which that organisation has agreed to contribute 60% of the plaintiffs’ settlements and costs in the majority of cases.

“The figures set out above are, as you will appreciate, commercially sensitive and I would request that the committee does not publish the information,” Mr Breen wrote, adding that no confidentiality deals exist with those affected.

The Cloverhill outbreak has been a source of concern since it first emerged. TB, a potentially fatal lung disease, has been largely eradicated in Ireland, with cases dropping from 7,000 a year in the 1950s to the low 300s today. However, the Cloverhill outbreak gave rise to prison safety and health concerns.

More on this topic

Six year wait for seriously mentally ill prisoner before being admitted to Central Mental HospitalSix year wait for seriously mentally ill prisoner before being admitted to Central Mental Hospital

Ex prisoner says rights breached by having to slop out in Limerick PrisonEx prisoner says rights breached by having to slop out in Limerick Prison

Prisoners involved in five-hour hostage situation at Midlands PrisonPrisoners involved in five-hour hostage situation at Midlands Prison

Inmates take part in courses at cost of over €350kInmates take part in courses at cost of over €350k


More in this Section

Here's where last night's €500,000 winning EuroMillions ticket was soldHere's where last night's €500,000 winning EuroMillions ticket was sold

Special delivery: €49k worth of cannabis and ecstasy seized at Dublin mail centreSpecial delivery: €49k worth of cannabis and ecstasy seized at Dublin mail centre

Number of overseas tourists to Ireland rises, CSO figures revealNumber of overseas tourists to Ireland rises, CSO figures reveal

Galway church offering 'drive-thru' Ash Wednesday service for parishioners Galway church offering 'drive-thru' Ash Wednesday service for parishioners


Lifestyle

Designers and sustainability advocates are taking note of this eco-friendly material.What is milkweed floss and how can it be used in sustainable fashion?

If your dog is a fat four-legged friend, here’s how to slim them down, and boost their fitness.Doggy diet: 10 ways to make your pooch healthier

Get to know these health-promoting powerhouses.6 of the healthiest foods in the world

The show saw models walking beneath neon phrases saying ‘Consent’, and ‘Patriarchy = Climate Emergency’.Consent was top of Dior’s agenda at Paris Fashion Week

More From The Irish Examiner