Sinn Féin councillor, Paul Hogan, has slammed the continued use of anti-malaria drug Lariam by the Irish Defence Forces.
Concerns regarding the drug were raised a number of years ago due to a link between it and soldiers who suffered mental illnesses including anxiety and depression.
Referring to Larium as “an inexpensive drug”, Cllr Hogan described the fact that officers are not being prescribed the drug while privates and lower-ranked soldiers are, as displaying blatant “double standards”.
Cllr Hogan said there is a clear correlation between those who have taken Lariam and the experience of suicidal ideation.
He added that defence forces in countries like America, Britain, The Netherlands, France and many more have discontinued prescribing Lariam due to concerns about its side effects.
Cllr Hogan said a number of soldiers have approached him to report the detrimental effect the drug has had on their mental health and lives, and called for its prescribing to be stopped immediately and for those affected to be compensated and aided in whatever way is necessary.
Fianna Fáil councillor, Aengus O’Rourke, supported the call for use of the drug to be scrapped. He commended Cllr Hogan for continuing year after year to battle against the administrering of Lariam. He added that he found it “amazing” that the British government acknowledged the damage Larium has done to its soldiers and issued them an apology, while in Ireland the drug is still considered the most suitable option. “It doesn’t sit well,” he concluded.
Independent councillor, Michael O’Brien, echoed Cllr O’Rourke’s concerns. He remarked that the dangers associated with Lariam are now well documented and suggested Cllr Hogan raise the issue at county level.