A solicitor who is representing a large number of families impacted by the Kerry Camhs mental health service controversy where children and adolescents were overmedicated by a doctor has welcomed a non-adversarial compensation scheme which has been approved by the Government.
Minister of State for Mental Health Mary Butler confirmed on RTÉ Radio's Morning Ireland that the scheme will run to "many millions of euro" and the HSE is now in the process of sending details of the scheme to the families involved after it was signed off by Cabinet last week.
A review in to the Kerry Camhs service was published in January, revealing that 240 children did not receive the correct treatment and that significant harm was caused to 46 of them.
Speaking to the same programme, Keith Rolls, of Coleman Legal, said the families welcomed the opening payment of €5,000 to cover initial expenses.
He added his clients had experienced considerable trauma and there was little appetite amongst them for protracted High Court proceedings.
"This is very sensitive as you can imagine. The families have been massively impacted by this and any steps taken that can alleviate any of their concerns are very welcome.
"It is very upsetting for the families as you can imagine, but now the fact that the compensation scheme has been put in place I am sure the families will appreciate that. From our perspective it is a very positive step."
Mr Rolls said all of his clients impacted by the scandal had been invited to meetings where they received an apology and were informed of the deficits of care.
He said in addition to considerable emotional pain and suffering, many families have experienced financial loss as a result of the overmedication of their children, having to give up work or reduce their hours in an effort to assist their children.
Mr Rolls said they have yet to be informed as to the maximum or minimum award on offer, adding that many families are still waiting to receive their correspondence on the scheme.
However, he said the scheme has alleviated a lot of the concerns of the impacted families around protecting the privacy of their children.
The scheme, to be operated by the State Claims Agency, is open only to those identified in the report, written by Dr Sean Maskey, as having suffered some level of harm, covering the period from July 2016 to April 2021.