Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Thalidomide Scandal

Oral Answers to Questions — The Executive Office – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:30 pm on 7th November 2016.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Kellie Armstrong Kellie Armstrong Alliance 2:30 pm, 7th November 2016

T7. Ms Armstrong asked the First Minister and deputy First Minister what discussions the Executive Office has had with the appropriate bodies to obtain pecuniary compensation for the survivors of the thalidomide scandal, given that the First Minister will be aware of the challenges facing those survivors, with many of them living with unique and complex needs and significant financial strain. (AQT 422/16-21)

Photo of Arlene Foster Arlene Foster DUP

I thank the Member for her very timely question. Directly after Question Time, I am meeting some of the victims of the thalidomide scandal, and I very much look forward to getting an update from them on their Germany case. I understand that they have made representations to the European Union and, indeed, with my colleague Diane Dodds, were able to get some traction there on their cases. As I said, I very much look forward to the update that I will receive from them in a couple of minutes and to seeing what I can do to assist them in their action against that Government.

Photo of Kellie Armstrong Kellie Armstrong Alliance

I thank the First Minister for her answer. As she mentioned, the German Government are facing increasing pressure from the EU and could be forced to recognise their responsibility to help survivors. As the First Minister said, she will hear an update, but, as the issue has been going on for a number of years, is she able to give any assurances that, regardless of the decision, she will do what she can to ensure that thalidomide victims in Northern Ireland are sufficiently compensated?

Photo of Arlene Foster Arlene Foster DUP

Of course, that is what I want to hear. I want to hear from them what their current position is. I read Mrs Fenton's story on the BBC website and learned how the thalidomide crisis has impacted her in a very personal way and what it means for her today. I want to hear how she is coping with everyday living. They will certainly find me someone who wants to be of assistance, whether that is in relation to the German Government or to the very specific needs that they might have in Northern Ireland.

Photo of Robin Newton Robin Newton Speaker

I call Mr Attwood and inform him that he may not get a supplementary.