Written Answers. - Hearing Impairment Claims.

Brian O'Shea

Ceist:

87 Mr. O'Shea asked the Minister for Defence the total number of claims or damages for deafness determined in court or settled out of court at the latest date for which figures are available; the total amount paid out in terms of damages or legal costs; the total number of such claims outstanding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18783/03]

By 31 May 2003, a total of 16,613 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 military service. Some 325 claims have been determined in court and 14,169 have been disposed of out of court, mainly through settlements. A total of 2,119 claims were outstanding at 31 May. €266.35 million has been paid in respect of hearing loss claims including €87.58 million in plaintiffs' legal costs.