As I indicated to Deputy Ó Snodaigh in response to the Private Members' motion of 28 June 2017 regarding the anti-malarial drug Lariam, the use of anti-malarial drugs is a medical matter that should be decided by qualified medical professionals. In the Defence Forces, these are matters for highly qualified medical officers having regard to the specific circumstances of the mission and the individual member of the Defence Forces.
As Deputy Buckley will be aware, the Lariam report implementation group, LRIG, was established following the completion of the report of the malaria chemoprophylaxis working group in 2017, which set out a number of recommendations.
This group has met on a number of occasions and is progressing its work through the formation of a structured plan to implement these recommendations, as outlined in the terms of reference. These recommendations include planning, training and education-information sharing, as well as the establishment of a medical advisory group that will formalise the provision of ongoing expert medical advice, including external expert medical advice, to the Defence Forces on a range of medical matters, including malaria chemoprophylaxis.
I would also like to point out that there is a range of support services, both medical and non-medical, available to the Defence Forces personnel. These include access to Defence Forces medical officers, psychiatric, psychological, social work and personnel support services. A strictly confidential 24-hour careline, manned by trained counsellors, is also available to Defence Forces personnel.
The Deputy will be aware that the State Claims Agency manages personal injury claims, including personal injury claims relating to the consumption of Lariam taken by current and former members of the Defence Forces. The next case is listed for hearing in the High Court on 21 June 2019. Given that there is litigation pending in relation to these matters, the Deputy will appreciate that it would be inappropriate for me to comment further on this issue.