Written Answers. - Exhumation Inquiry.

Jim Higgins

Ceist:

92 Mr. Higgins (Mayo) asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he has received a report from the Garda authorities regarding the exhumation of a body of a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25466/01]

I have not received a report on the result of the post mortem which followed the exhumation. It is not established practice that the results of a post mortem would be forwarded to my Department; rather, they are forwarded in the first instance to the Garda authorities and, where appropriate, to the Director of Public Prosecutions as part of the investigation file. With regard to the matter referred to by the Deputy, I am informed by the Garda authorities that they have received a report from the State Pathologist, and that this report cannot be made public for operational reasons. The circumstances surrounding the death of the person concerned is the subject of an ongoing Garda investigation.

On 27 June 2001, my Department received a request for an exhumation order, with an attached Garda report. The request was in accordance with section 47(2) of the Coroners Act, and was received from the Coroner for Donegal South East in respect of the person in question. An exhumation order subsequently issued on 3 July, 2001.

I refer the Deputy to the comprehensive reply to Priority Questions Nos. 80 and 81 which I gave earlier.