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Crematorium owner 'surprised' at Dublin blocking Northern Ireland cremations

Lakelands Funeral Home and Crematorium in Cavan, and proprietor Declan Finnegan
Brendan Hughes

A CREMATORIUM owner near the border has expressed surprise over the Dublin coroner's decision to block cremations of people from Northern Ireland.

Declan Finnegan, proprietor of Lakelands crematorium in Cavan, said cremations from the north are commonplace and he cannot understand why an issue has arisen.

The decision in Dublin does not impact on his crematorium in Cavan – the closest crematorium to the border, which has about 20 per cent of its business coming from Northern Ireland.

The Irish News revealed on Wednesday the Dublin coroner Dr Myra Cullinane has directed that the cremation of remains from the north will not be authorised under further notice.

The Dublin district has four of the eight crematoriums in Ireland. There is one crematorium each in Belfast, Cavan, Cork and Clare.

Reacting to the Dublin decision, Mr Finnegan said it does not affect Cavan, but added: "I don't see what the problem is."

He said the coroner in Northern Ireland would routinely complete paperwork to permit remains to leave the north, allowing for burial or cremation elsewhere.

"The person is certified as having died and the cause of death, and it's also certified that there is no reason to hold the body within the jurisdiction of Northern Ireland," he said.

The 56-year-old, whose crematorium has been running for about three years, added: "There was never an issue in the past. I'm very surprised to say the least."

Mr Finnegan said Lakelands crematorium tends to have cremations of deceased from the north every week.

The issue in Dublin emerged after a retired Co Down schoolteacher's bereaved family were told on Tuesday morning the coroner had not authorised his scheduled cremation on Wednesday at Dardistown Crematorium.

The cremation went ahead as planned after the coroner granted an exception, but the block remains in place for future requests.

Cremations will not be allowed "until further consideration be given to the legal basis for the authorisation", the Dublin coroner's office has said.

It said the decision "relates only to deaths occurring in Northern Ireland and coming into the Dublin Coroner's District solely for cremation".

In a statement, a spokesman said there is "no formal protocol" for people who have died in Northern Ireland being cremated in the Republic.

"Although the Dublin District Coroner's Office has been facilitating these cremations administratively, this was not authorised by the coroner," he said.

"In view of this, the coroner has directed that the practice cease until further consideration be given to the legal basis for the authorisation by the Dublin District Coroner of the cremation of remains not originating in this jurisdiction.

"It is anticipated that a satisfactory resolution to this situation will be achieved and procedures formalised in short course."

The Lord Chief Justice's Office in Northern Ireland said that if an undertaker wishes to remove a body from the north, the coroner will issue an Out of Country Order.

A spokeswoman said the coroner is not involved in decisions on whether the body is buried or cremated.

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