Cork Thalidomide survivor among those to mark 60th anniversary of withdrawl of drug from the market

Cork Thalidomide survivor among those to mark 60th anniversary of withdrawl of drug from the market

Thalidomide survivors outside the Dail to mark the 60th anniversary of the international withdrawal of Thalidomide in November 1961 when evidence of its catastrophic damage could no longer be ignored. Photograph: Fran Veale/Julien Behal Photography

WHITE roses were laid at the gates of Leinster House today by survivors of the Thalidomide drug to mark the 60th anniversary of the drug’s international withdrawal from the market.

Among those who laid the flowers was Cobh native Finola Cassidy, whose parents set up a support group for other parents of children born with disabilities as a result of the drug which was used for morning sickness in pregnancy.

She is the secretary of the Irish Thalidomide Association.

Finola said: 

“We were so encouraged by the number of members of the Oireachtas who came out to support us.” 

The Irish Thalidomide Association represents Thalidomide survivors born in Ireland.

Finola said the survivors are still waiting for an apology from the State in relation to the drug, as they say there is no evidence of a “complete recall” of the drug in Ireland.

In a statement before the gathering at Leinster House, the association said: “The Irish Government of the day took a deliberate decision not to warn pregnant women. This was after its catastrophic effects were known and acknowledged across the world.” 

Today marked the 59th birthday of one of the survivors of the drug.

Finola said the majority of women who were prescribed Thalidomide for morning sickness have now died, while it is believed that more than 40 of the babies affected are still alive.

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