| 12.4°C Dublin

Close

Premium

'Society shouldn't have to pay for every thing that's wrong' - ex-minister on onslaught of Army personal injury claims

Amy Molloy speaks with former minister Michael Smith, who was faced by the rising tide of Army deafness cases in 1997

Close

Safe at home: Former defence minister Michael Smith cocoons near Roscrea, Co Tipperary. photo: Don Moloney

Safe at home: Former defence minister Michael Smith cocoons near Roscrea, Co Tipperary. photo: Don Moloney

Don Moloney

Safe at home: Former defence minister Michael Smith cocoons near Roscrea, Co Tipperary. photo: Don Moloney

When Michael Smith became defence minister in 1997, his first major task was to deal with an onslaught of personal injury claims from members of the Defence Forces.

In an unprecedented move for a government minister, the former Fianna Fáil politician walked into the High Court to plead for the level of compensation awards to come down.

As of today, the Department of Defence has settled 16,829 claims relating to noise induced hearing loss and paid out €290m in compensation.