The Government has launched a public-consultation process ahead of the development of proposals to modernise the Coroner Service in Ireland.
The Department of Justice said that the process would give members of the public and stakeholder groups the chance to express their views, observations, and proposals on how the service might be improved.
The Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said that, while there had been some amendments to the Coroners Act 1962, the structure of the service had remained largely as it was originally established by that legislation.
The Coroner Service comprises a network of 34 coroners in 37 districts throughout the country.
Coroners are independent quasi-judicial officeholders whose function is to investigate sudden and unexplained, violent and unnatural deaths.
The death-investigation process may involve a post-mortem examination to establish the cause of death, as well as an inquest in certain cases.
Most coroners work as solicitors, barristers, or doctors, and carry out their coroner function in addition to these roles.
As well the structure of the system, the consultation will seek views on pathology and related services, death reporting, and how inquests are conducted.
“The Government wants to ensure that the Coroner Service is positioned to provide a comprehensive service into the future,” the minister said.
“Issues such as driving innovative change and enhancing customer service have been identified as areas in need of examination,” she added.
The public consultation, which includes two questionnaires, will be open until 19 January 2024.
After the process ends, proposals on changes to the coroner system will be brought to Government.