By Deborah Condon
Over €276 million has now been paid out in compensation to soldiers claiming to have suffered hearing loss as a result of serving in the armed forces, figures from the Department of Defence have shown.
Around 16,700 former and current members of the Defence Forces have so far made claims and the department is still receiving, on average, one new claim a week.
While some claims have been determined in court, the majority have been settled out of court.
The average award per case is now around €5,700. In 2002, the average claim was almost double this, at €10,700. Both these figures are still less than the average €30,000 awards that were paid out when the claims process began.
The department estimates that the final bill will be around €300 million, significantly less than the €1 billion originally feared.
Of the money already paid out in compensation, at least €87 million has been spent on legal costs for plaintiffs.
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