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Neary's victims share €20.6m in compensation

THE victims of disgraced obstetrician Michael Neary who were eligible for compensation have received €20.6m from the State.

The payouts were shared by 119 women under the Lourdes Hospital Redress Board, set up under former Health Minister Mary Harney. Mr Neary, who worked at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, Co Louth, was struck off the register for wrongly removing the wombs of a number of his patients.

Briefing material prepared by Department of Health officials for the current minister, James Reilly, revealed Ms Harney had sought advice from the chair of the board, Judge Maureen Harding Clarke, on whether the scheme should be extended to other women. She advised against an extension.

However, Dr Reilly made a pre-election pledge to extend the scheme to a group of women who fell outside its terms.

The document also revealed that a claim for damages had been received from one of the survivors of the thalidomide scandal -- where pregnant women who were given the drug gave birth to children with disabilities in the 1960s.

A compensation package offered by the last Government to survivors was rejected and Dr Reilly has promised to make them an improved offer.

Irish Independent