Republic of Ireland news

Meeting sought with Dublin coroner over Northern Ireland cremations block

Dardistown Crematorium in Dublin
Brendan Hughes

A CREMATORIUM operator in Dublin has sought a meeting with the district coroner to seek clarification on her decision to block cremations of people from Northern Ireland.

The Irish News revealed yesterday that Dr Myra Cullinane has directed the cremation of remains from the north will not be authorised until further notice.

Cremations will not be allowed "until further consideration be given to the legal basis for the authorisation", the Dublin coroner's office 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 issue 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 yesterday afternoon after the coroner granted an exception, but the block remains in place for future requests.

A spokesman for Glasnevin Trust, which operates three of the four crematoriums in the Dublin area, yesterday said: "Glasnevin have sought a meeting with the Dublin coroner and they hope to have that shortly to seek clarification."

The Irish Association of Funeral Directors has also asked for "full clarification on what will happen going forward".

The Republic's justice department said it would "not be appropriate" to comment on the coroner's decision.

"The coroner is a statutory officer exercising quasi-judicial functions in relation to which he/she is independent," a spokesman said.

"As a result it would not be appropriate for the Department of Justice and Equality to comment further."

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