Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Questions (295, 296, 297)

Gerry Adams

Question:

295. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the statutory timeframe for holding an inquest into the death of a person. [21813/19]

View answer

Gerry Adams

Question:

296. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of inquests pending in County Louth. [21814/19]

View answer

Gerry Adams

Question:

297. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a family is permitted to bring a solicitor to the inquest into the death of a family member. [21876/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 295 to 297, inclusive, together.

The legislation governing coroners is the Corners Act 1962.  Under this legislation, coroners are statutory officers exercising quasi-judicial functions in relation to which he or she is independent.

A coroner is responsible for the timeframe for the scheduling and the holding of inquests within the district area for which they retain responsibility.  Under the Coroners Act 1962, there is no statutory timeframe within which an inquest must be held.  Factors which will influence the date for the holding of an inquest include, among others, the availability of post-mortem results, the results of any other tests deemed necessary for consideration during the inquest and the availability of witnesses.

I have made enquiries with the Louth Coroner and I am informed that, at present, there are 34 inquests pending in County Louth.

During the inquest process, families may be accompanied by a solicitor.