Cork soldier who is suing state tells court he could not remember if issued with mosquito repellent

A Cork soldier who has sued the State after he was given the anti-malarial drug Lariam while on tour of duty in Chad has told the High Court he could not remember if he was issued with mosquito repellent, writes Ann O’Loughlin.

“I never used it myself,” he told Ms Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon.

Under cross excamination by the State side,he agreed everybody was issued with mosquito nets to protect against malaria carrying mosquitoes for the UN tour of duty in Chad in 2009.

Anthony Cole at a previous court sitting

Anthony Cole in his second day in the witness box said within two days of taking the Lariam in Ireland before he left for Chad he was very tired and having nightmares.

“ I put it down to a bad time,” he said and said he did not report it to anybody.

“I was not suffering intolerably. If you were suffering side effects before you went, you would not be going to Chad.”he said.

He added: “ I was an Army Sergeant. If I was feeling a bit down, I was not going to cry to somebody. I was going to get on with it,”

HE said he did not link it to Lariam but he was having a bad time of it and he thought or knew it was going to pass.

Mr Cole who has since left the Army had 33 years service including three tours overseas to the Lebanon.

Anthony Cole, Duneoin, Carrigaline, Cork has sued the Minister for Defence and the Attorney General after he was given Lariam, also known as Mefloquine for two weeks before he travelled, while on his tour of duty and for a number of weeks on his return home from Chad.

He has claimed that when he arrived in Chad his sleep became very disturbed and for no obvious reason he became unhappy and exceedingly irritable. He has claimed he felt so bad in himself that after three weeks he seriously considered returning home but persisted with the five month tour of duty.

He has further claimed he has never felt normal since then and his life has been thrown in to complete dissary and he suffers nightmares, headaches, mood swings and depression.

He alleges there was an alleged failure to adequately warn members of the Defence Forces including himself of the side effects of the anti malarial drug Lariam and an alleged failure to warn him of the dangers and risks associated the medication.

The claims are denied and it is contended there was an alleged delay in bringing the proceedings.

Cross examined by Liam Reidy SC for the State, Mr Cole said he would criticise the Army management for the way soldiers took Lariam in Chad.

He agreed he had taken two claims previously against the Army including one for deafness when his hearing was down after handling explosives.

He agreed he got about nine vaccinations before going on his tour to Chad and they included for Yellow Fever, Cholera and Diphtheria.

Put to him that the evidence on the State side will be that the soldiers going to Chad were told of the side effects of Lariam, Mr Cole said he wasn’t told and the only time he knew of the possible side effects was when he saw it in a leaflet included in the box of Lariam.

The case before Ms Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon continues tomorrow, Thursday.


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