Thursday, 29 January 2004

Questions (24)

Jack Wall

Question:

21 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the progress which has been made in implementing the report of the working group on the coroner service published in December 2000; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2504/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform)

In line with a commitment I gave when I met representatives of the Coroners Society of Ireland, I hope to be in a position to bring a proposal to Government, early this year, for a short Bill to amend the Coroners Act 1962 so as to deal with a certain number of critical issues that need to be addressed as a priority. These concern the ending of the restriction on the number of medical and other witnesses at an inquest, increased sanctions for those who might refuse to co-operate at an inquest and a more coherent restatement of the scope of the provisions for mandatory inquests, which will include all deaths in custody. I remain conscious that a suitably more comprehensive reform of the coroners service, taking due account of the recommendations of the review group and developments since, is required in the medium term.