Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Defence Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has said the news that Irish peace-keepers will finally be given an alternative anti-malaria drug to Lariam, is a breakthrough but now work needs to be done to address the legacy of ill health and poor treatment of our Defence Forces who have suffered the consequences of having to take this drug.
Speaking this evening, Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:
“Today’s news that Irish Peacekeepers will be given an alternative anti-malaria drug to Lariam is to be strongly welcomed, and is a victory for the Action Lariam Irish Soldiers group and for those who served in our Defence Forces.
“For almost a decade, I have raised the dangerous and potentially fatal side effects associated with Lariam with successive Defence Ministers. The value and respect rightly accorded to Irish military personnel is reflected in their reception around the globe. However, the courageous peacekeeping duties they have undergone in some of the world’s most dangerous conflict zones has not been reciprocated at home by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.
“Nowhere is this more starkly illustrated than in the unnecessary delay to replace the anti-malaria drug Lariam with safer alternatives. It is over two years since the Sinn Féin motion to end the use of Lariam on our Defence Forces passed through the Dáil unopposed.
“By finally stopping the use of Lariam we are finally taking a step in the right direction of treating our Defence Forces with the dignity they deserve.
“The State should now take the next step by ensuring that all serving and retired Defence Forces personnel who have been given Lariam in the past and are affected since will be provided with proper health supports and counselling services to aid their recovery from the side-effects.”
“I want also commend those who campaigned and highlighted the effects of this drug for years.”