The family of a man who lay dead in a Dublin morgue for five days before anyone was notified have said it is “unbelievable” nobody tried to contact them.
Jamie Weldon was found dead at his Dublin home on August 19th – the day that would have marked his 57th birthday.
His six siblings only found out about the death six days later when they contacted Gardaí to ask them to do a welfare check on him.
On Lunchtime Live this afternoon, his sister Fiona said nobody has made any attempt to contact the family to inform them of Jamie’s death.
“He was actually in in the morgue that length of time without us knowing that he was there,” she said.
“No one had contacted us either to let us know that he was there.”
Fiona said the body was not released to the family for another three weeks after they were informed – as DNA was needed to identify Jamie’s remains.
“Again there was another delay there,” she said.
“The sample actually lay in the Garda station until there was a further process and then, actually, we didn't get him home until the 15th of September.
“So he was actually 27 days in the morgue altogether.”
"Why did it take so long"
Fiona said that Gardaí were able to tell the family Jamie was dead “25 minutes after they called asking for the welfare check”.
“I suppose what we're finding it very hard to understand is, when the guards came to the house and stood in our sitting room to tell us that Jamie died, they said it with conviction,” she said.
“The way they said it was, he is deceased and he's at Dublin City Morgue.
“There wasn't a question about that, but yet, they have to have a DNA sample then to confirm in order for him to come home to us?”
She said the family can’t understand why it took so long to contact them.
“Like, he was found in his own apartment, they had access to letters, the details, to his PPS number, his passport has been found there, they had his mobile phone,” she said.
“There should be no reason why you can't try and get in contact with that family in a six-day period – it just seems so unbelievable.
“To us it really doesn't seem like much of an effort was made.”
Fiona said Jamie was “just an amazing person”.
“He was full of fun,” she said. “He loved sports, loved his friends, loved his family.
“He was, I think one of the best descriptions of him came from one of my brothers and they said he was like free agent.
“He was really independent and he was just really fun loving, quirky, witty and just a really, really good guy.”
In a statement, the Department of Justice said “every effort” is made to contact families in what “can be complex circumstances”.
“In certain instances, it is not possible to identify remains without recourse to DNA sampling,” it said.
“While this may delay notifying next-of-kin, it is imperative that no errors are made in the process and that identification of remains is confirmed prior to next-of-kin being notified.”
It said officials from the Coroner’s office have engaged with the Weldon family “to respond to their concerns and directly communicate the Department’s condolences”.
It noted that the team in the Dublin District Mortuary is “acutely aware” of the impacts of delays in releasing remains of loved ones.
It said the families are “often going through the most distressing times of their lives and the team are always sensitive to this”.
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