Coronavirus: All inquests deferred because of outbreak

Coroners and Department of Justice agree move in order to limit exposure to Covid-19

The Coroners Society of Ireland and the Department of Justice have agreed to defer all inquests in an attempt to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

The Coroners Society of Ireland and the Department of Justice have agreed to defer all inquests in an attempt to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

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The Coroners Society of Ireland and the Department of Justice have agreed to defer all inquests in an attempt to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

The society’s president Dr Mary Flanagan said the department held a conference call at the weekend with the State’s 33 coroners and their deputies and that the decision was unanimously backed.

“People felt it was the most prudent course of action to take to try and limit people’s exposure to Covid-19 so all inquests have now been deferred and the situation will be reviewed, pending future developments,” she said.

The department said the discussion provided an opportunity for coroners to be briefed on the public health implications of the outbreak as well the work underway to deal with it.

“It also provided an opportunity for Coroners to share their experiences over recent days, and to take the advice of colleagues on the best courses of action in a variety of scenarios,” the statement added.

“Coroners have been contacting affected parties, An Garda Síochána and the Courts Service to inform them of their decisions, and to ensure that family members of the deceased are notified.”

The parties involved in the call agreed to set up co-ordination group of coroners to link in with the department and other State bodies over the days and weeks ahead.

Figures from the Coroners Service show that, on average, more than 2,000 inquests a year are held. The greatest number is held in Dublin, around 700 inquests a year, followed by Cork City where around 250 are held.

Meanwhile, the Courts Service of Ireland has started contacting people asked to attend for jury service at criminal sessions commencing on April 20th to inform that they are no longer required because of the outbreak.

Some 4,315 people had been asked to attend on April 20th in Cork, Donegal, Galway, Kildare, Limerick, Louth, Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford but they are no longer required as no new trials will take start at that point.

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