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Coroner gets green light for new labs ... again

NEW high-tech offices for the State Pathologist and the Dublin City Coroner have been given the green light -- again.

Dr Marie Cassidy and Dublin City Coroner Dr Brian Farrell will share the multi-million euro "medico-legal" offices in Marino.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter has announced new funding for the project.

Two years ago, when the then Justice Minister Dermot Ahern turned the sod on the new building, it was costed at €13.8m, including construction costs of €7.4m.

Building work had started, but the project was postponed due to lack of money.

Asked about the cost this time around, the Department of Justice told the Herald: "The project known as the medico-legal laboratory will have to be tendered for in the normal way under EU rules.

"It is not possible, or desirable, in advance of such a tender, to indicate the likely cost as this must be determined via a transparent and open tender competition."

Mr Shatter earlier welcomed the Government announcement that €190m will be invested in three garda divisional headquarters, courts buildings and the new Marino facility.







Mortuary

It will include post-mortem rooms, laboratories and modern mortuary facilities for use by the Office of the State Pathologist and the Dublin coroner "in a shared service environment".

"The state-of-the art facility will play a vital role in death investigation process and provide enhanced facilities for staff, professionals and members of the public," Mr Shatter said.

Building is due to start next year and continue through 2014 and 2015. In 2010, the joint venture between the Department of Justice and Dublin City Council would have seen funding being provided on a two-thirds to one- third basis on the site provided by the City Council.

The new centre at the O'Brien Institute in Marino was slated to replace the current facility that was provided after demolition of the Old Victorian City Morgue at Store Street in 1999 -- which featured in one of Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta detective novels.

Original designs for the new centre said it would be located in a landscaped site some distance from the 18th-century Casino at Marino.

mlavery@herald.ie