A total of 867 investigative links between people and unsolved crimes were uncovered in 2018, ranging from burglaries to sexual assaults and murder, according to the Forensic Science Ireland (FSI) annual report for 2018.
The FSI database is populated with unidentified DNA profiles from crime scenes, which can then be matched with DNA profiles uploaded from individuals under criminal investigation.
Justice minister Charlie Flanagan says: “High quality forensics help establish the facts and turn the wheels of the criminal justice system. Strong forensic processes, allied to good policing, help create a climate of deterrence for potential criminals and increased public confidence in the criminal justice system.”
FSI had added 26,649 profiles to the database by the end of 2018, as well as 5,326 unsolved crime stains. The crime-solving capacity of the database will expand as the database grows -- during 2018, a total of 38 out of every 100 crime-scene samples uploaded onto the database were linked to a person. FSI also identified five missing persons in 2018.
Aside from DNA, many types of trace evidence were recovered in 2018. These were compared with reference samples, such as glass, paint residue, firearm residue and debris samples from suspicious fires, to support criminal investigations.
FSI also delivered 7,443 drugs reports, including 4,571 reports related to possession with intent to supply or cultivation charges.
Enabling works have been completed for the new forensic laboratory at Backweston Campus, Celbridge.
Laboratory services of the Garda National Technical Bureau – including fingerprints, ballistics, documents and handwriting – will be integrated into FSI as a single cohesive forensic service provider for the State.