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Coroners Service

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 14 December 2021

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Questions (498)

Holly Cairns


498. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Justice the steps she is taking to address the backlogs in the Cork City Coroner’s Court; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [61239/21]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Coroners Service is a network of coroners located in districts throughout the country. Coroners are quasi-judicial officers and are independent in the conduct of their functions. Neither I nor my Department has any role in the directing the work of the coroner.

My Department does, however, actively support coroners in the carrying out of their very important service to the public. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, inquests have been severely curtailed in line with public health guidelines. I understand that the coroners are holding, what are referred to as ‘documentary inquests’ or remote inquests, which require very small numbers of attendees and take place with the agreement of families. Larger inquests, requiring multiple witnesses, are being rescheduled to a later date. All coroners are focused on working through the delays caused to inquests by the pandemic.

In order to assist the Coroner for Cork City district, my Department made contact with the Courts Service and have secured additional courtroom space for the coroner in December 2021 and January 2022. The coroner will liaise directly with the Courts Service with a view to the scheduling of inquests.