Written Answers. - County Louth Post Mortems.

Dermot Ahern

Question:

476 Mr. D. Ahern asked the Minister for Justice if her attention has been drawn to the difficulties which have arisen in County Louth regarding the delay in carrying out post mortems which have caused unnecessary additional grief to surviving relatives; the plans, if any, she has to review the salary and conditions of those involved in this area with a view to ensuring that there is no repetition of what happened in County Louth over the month of August; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16244/96]

The appointment of coroners is the responsibility of the relevant local authority under Section 8 (2) of the Coroners, Act, 1962. I was, however, very concerned about the recent difficulties that arose in County Louth concerning the holding of post mortems following the resignation of the Louth Coroner on 7 August and the Deputy Coroner on 27 August.

Following the resignation of the deputy coroner, my Department was in communication with Louth County Council and the Garda Síochána with a view to minimising the effect of any delays in carrying out post mortems.

I have been informed that a coroner was appointed by Louth County Council on a temporary basis with effect from 28 August 1996, and I would like to inform the Deputy that the Civil Service Commission has recently advertised for the filling of the permanent post of Coroner for County Louth by Louth County Council.

Apart from the appointment of corners, the payment and fixing of their salaries is also primarily the responsibility of the local authority and is governed by Section 9 of the Coroners Act, 1962. This provides,inter alia, that the salary of each coroner shall be fixed by the local authority by whom the coroner is appointed, with the approval of the Minister for Justice and after consultation with the Minister for the Environment. I can inform the Deputy that my Department is in correspondence with the Department of the Environment in relation to a review of coroners' remuneration.