Irish Army deafness claims

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The Irish Army deafness claims were a series of personal injury claims taken against the Government of Ireland by members of the Irish Defence Forces. The claimants had suffered loss of hearing caused by exposure to loud noises during military operations and training. The claims stated that the government had failed to provide ear protectors during firing exercises, as was required under regulations dating back to the 1950s.

As of 2004, the Minister for Defence expected the total liability to amount to €300 million to 17,000 claimants, each claimant receiving an average of almost €18,000.[1] As the Department Of Defence failed to provide the necessary funding to purchase hearing protection for members of the Defence Forces, none of the officers that had supervised the exercises could be censured for failing to abide by the regulations. Also as of 2004, 328 claims had been settled in court, with 14,681 claims being settled out of court.[2] In 2006 it was alleged that in some 152 claims the solicitors had double-charged their fees, but nobody was charged.[3]

By 2010, the costs had escalated to about €321 million, of which about a third had been paid to the complainants' lawyers.[4]


  1. ^ Defence to pay out €300m in claimsRTÉ news article, 20 August 2004
  2. ^ €273m paid out in army deafness cases — RTÉ news article, 5 February 2004
  3. ^
  4. ^ Independent article January 2010