Lengthy waits for Dublin City Mortuary to release a loved one’s body are causing a “lot of distress” for families.
The Association of Funeral Directors (IAFD) is warning that the Whitehall facility is “not really fit for purpose” for a city of Dublin’s size.
Fanagans Funeral Home manager Fintan Cooney told Newstalk Breakfast the mortuary, “doesn’t have the capacity to conduct the amount of post-mortems that they would need to be able to do at a busy time”.
He said a two-week wait has become common – but he is aware of one family who had to wait 19 days before their loved one’s remains were released for burial.
“Some of the most difficult calls I have to make to families are when their loved ones have been taken to Dublin City Mortuary because the case has been referred to the coroner and they then have to undergo a post-mortem,” he said.
“I then have to tell that family that they have to wait for a significant time before the loved one’s body will be released into our care.”
Mr Cooney said the long waits are causing a “lot of distress” and families are keen to lay their loved ones to rest in a timely manner.
“People are saying to us, ‘Have I not been through enough without having this further indignity of waiting to have my loved one back and to be able to have a funeral?’
Plans to build a new facility in Marino were previously approved but later abandoned after the builder who won the contract went bankrupt.
The IAFD has written to the interim Justice Minister urging him to revisit the issue and, in the meantime, mitigate the situation.
“We hope that some short-term measures can be put in place - such as maybe longer opening hours and so on,” Mr Cooney said.
“Possibly some of this work could be outsourced to the hospital mortuaries around the city.”
Legal and organisational responsibility for Dublin City Mortuary was transferred from the City Council to the Department of Justice in 2018.
Main image: A mortuary technician stands next to a corpse on an examination table.