Dáil Éireann - Volume 592 - 17 November, 2004
Other Questions. - Hearing Impairment Claims.
Mr. S. Ryan Mr. S. Ryan
62. Mr. S. Ryan asked the Minister for Defence the number of claims for damages for deafness determined in court or settled out of court at the latest date for which figures are available; the amount paid out to date in damages or legal costs; the number of claims outstanding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28835/04]
Mr. O’Dea Mr. O’Dea
Mr. O’Dea: On 31 October 2004 a total of 16,726 claims had been received in my Department from current and former members of the Defence Forces in respect of loss of hearing allegedly caused during their military service of which 332 claims have been determined in court and 15,070 have been disposed of out of court, mainly through settlement, leaving a total of 1,324 claims outstanding at that date. A sum of €277.3 million has been paid in respect of hearing loss claims, including €93.3 million in legal costs for plaintiffs.
Mr. Sherlock Mr. Sherlock
Mr. Sherlock: When will the Department deal with the outstanding claims? What procedures are in place to expedite them? What is the estimated final cost of claims?
Mr. O’Dea Mr. O’Dea
Mr. O’Dea: The Deputy will appreciate from the figures I have outlined that few claims are outstanding. New claims were coming in at a rate of 11 per week in 2002. The rate reduced to four per week last year and it is running at one per week currently. We are satisfied the claims will be wrapped up reasonably soon.
 The early settlement system under which most people settled expired in July 2002. Our best estimate of the total cost, taking into account payouts and plaintiff costs, comes to under €300 million. That current projection is a considerable improvement on some of the figures predicted in the early stages of the process, which were doomsday figures.
Dáil Éireann 592 Other Questions. Hearing Impairment Claims.