Northern Ireland news

Dublin coroner blocks cremations from Northern Ireland

Dardistown Crematorium, Dublin, and inset, Oliver Campbell

THE coroner in Dublin has blocked cremations of people from Northern Ireland until further notice.

Dr Myra Cullinane has directed that the cremation of remains originating from outside the Republic will not be allowed "until further consideration be given to the legal basis for the authorisation".

The issue emerged after a retired Co Down schoolteacher's bereaved family were told yesterday morning the coroner had not authorised his scheduled cremation today in Dublin.

Oliver Campbell's cremation will now go ahead as planned this afternoon after the coroner granted an exception, but the block remains in place for future requests.

The coroner's office did not clarify last night whether the decision affects only Dardistown Crematorium or all crematoriums in Dublin.

In a statement, a spokesman said: "The fact of deceased persons who have died in Northern Ireland being cremated in the Republic of Ireland is a relatively recent practice, for which no formal protocol had been entered into between Dardistown Crematorium in Dublin and the Dublin District Coroner.

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

"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."

Mr Campbell (81), a former Gaelic footballer and hurler for Antrim, died peacefully in hospital on Sunday after suffering from cancer.

The grandfather was a former teacher at the Christian Brothers' School in west Belfast, where he specialised in drama.

He moved with his family to Australia where they settled before returning to Northern Ireland some years ago, living in Warrenpoint.

His nephew, former Sunday World northern editor Jim Campbell, said the cremation issue had caused added distress to the family.

"His sister, my aunt Briege Campbell, died in Australia days before, so it's come as a double shock to the family and this decision by the coroner has only made things an awful lot worse," he said.

Edwina Fitzgerald, of the Irish Association of Funeral Directors, said: "We have asked for a full clarification on what will happen going forward."

A spokesman for Glasnevin Trust which runs Dardistown Crematorium – a facility that opened in 2016 – also said they would be "seeking clarification" on whether the coroner's direction affects other city crematoriums.

Mr Campbell's wife Sarah said the confusion over his cremation was "something that we didn't need", but she was relieved the decision was reversed.

Paying tribute to her husband, the 80-year-old fondly described him as a "brilliant" teacher who "believed that every child had potential".

"He had a gift of bringing the best out of children and bringing their best potential. He had a wonderful life. No regrets," she said.

Mr Campbell's Requiem Mass will take place today at St Peter's Church, Warrenpoint at 1pm followed by cremation in Dardistown Crematorium.

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