Dáil Éireann - Volume 647 - 19 February, 2008

Written Answers. - Compensation Payments.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore asked the Minister for Defence the amount paid out to members of the Defence Forces for each of the past five years in respect of compensation claims for injury or illness; the amount paid in respect of legal costs associated with these claims [605] in the same period; the steps being taken to reduce the level of such claims; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6330/08]

  Deputy Willie O’Dea: The information sought by the Deputy is in the form of a Tabular Statement.

The figures in the Tabular Statement represent the amounts paid in settlement of actions against the Minister for Defence. They include payments to serving and non-serving members of the Permanent and Reserve Defence Forces in respect of personal injuries and material damage. They also include amounts paid to Civilian Employees, and members of the public. I am concerned, of course, to ensure that such claims are kept to a minimum and that when they do arise they are dealt with expeditiously and efficiently.

The State Claims Agency has been working with the Defence Forces and the Department of Defence to examine incidents giving rise to claims and trends emerging in order to identify and obviate, if possible, the underlying causes of injury to civilian and Defence Forces personnel.

In 2004, the Defence Forces established a Risk Management Steering Group and a Risk Management Implementation Group to implement the overall Defence Forces Risk Management Policy. An Instruction on Health and Safety Risk Management was promulgated throughout the Defence Forces in 2006.

During 2006, external auditors from the State Claims Agency carried out a comprehensive audit of the Defence Forces Health and Safety Management systems. This audit examined systems in Defence Forces HQ, in each Formation and in 14 different Units selected by the auditors. All areas audited met with OHSAS 18001 standards. The Defence Forces is the first State organisation to have its Safety Management System validated by the State Claims Agency.

Non Hearing Loss Claims

Year

Awards/Settlements

Legal Fees

2003

3,522,547

1,030,490

2004

3,149,599

1,755,582

2005

3,403,930

2,101,038

2006

3,178,452

3,022,502

2007

2,011,443

2,584,526

Question No. 138 answered with Question No. 116.