I propose to take Questions Nos. 585 to 587, inclusive, together.
In May 2013 RTÉ asked the Defence Organisation for statistical information but used different figures when it broadcast the programme which forms the basis of your questions.
The information that was provided to them in relation to deaths from self-inflicted injuries is as follows:
“The Defence Forces Personal Management System does not capture data on the number of suicides. A review by the Defence Forces into 156 non-service related deaths among members of the Defence Forces in the period January 2000 to December 2010 shows that 25 were apparently of self-inflicted injuries. Of these, only one is recorded by a coroner as being “suicide”. Of these 25 deaths by self-inflicted injury, 9 had previously been prescribed Lariam. There is no evidence in any coroners’ inquests, nor any other evidence whatsoever, linking these deaths to Lariam. Moreover, according to expert advice, given the limited period of time during which Lariam remains in the bloodstream after a person stops taking it, it is extremely unlikely that Lariam could have been a contributory factor in practically all of these cases. Of the 25 deaths by self-inflicted injury, 16 were not prescribed Lariam and 4 of these had not served overseas.”
I am not in a position to disclose any information about individual deaths due to the relatively small number of individuals involved because it could lead to potential identification (or misidentification) of deceased service members.
RTÉ were informed that at least some of the information they sought is not easily accessible and has to be drawn from multiple databases. They were also told that it is not possible without manual checking to eliminate accurately multiple tours of duty. This would involve significant resources which are not available. Subject to that reservation, they were informed that for the period 1st January 2000 to 31st December 2012 approximately 6,498 tours of duty involving 4,293 individuals deployed to malarious areas where Lariam would have been the malaria chemoprophylaxis. For the same period, approximately 9,754 tours of duty deployed to areas where Lariam was not prescribed. No figure was given for the number of individuals involved on these tours.