| 12.2°C Dublin

Mortuary set up at barracks to handle feared bodies surge

Close

Work has been ongoing at Limerick’s Sarsfield Barracks

Work has been ongoing at Limerick’s Sarsfield Barracks

Don Moloney

Work has been ongoing at Limerick’s Sarsfield Barracks

A military base has been converted into a mortuary as part of the Government's measures to deal with the worsening Covid-19 crisis.

Sarsfield Barracks in Co Limerick is being earmarked as a mortuary and is expected to be the second such temporary facility in the country as part of the virus response.

It comes as the number of people who have died in Ireland from the virus rose to 120 yesterday.

It is understood that work was ongoing at the barracks in recent weeks to construct the temporary mortuary and was expected to be completed yesterday.

The barracks is currently used by both Army and Naval Service personnel and is located in Limerick city.

This includes the 12th Infantry Battalion, its reserves as well as the Limerick Unit Naval Service Reserve (LUNSR).

Sarsfield Barracks is the second facility to have a temporary mortuary erected onsite after the Royal Hospital Kilmainham facilitated a similar construction last week.

The Department of the Taoiseach and Department of Housing did not respond to requests for comment.

Government officials have been working with other agencies to identify potential sites where mortuaries can be erected for people who die as a result of Covid-19.

Senior Department of the Taoiseach official Liz Canavan said the "deeply sensitive issue" is being worked on.

Speaking last week at a press briefing at Government Buildings, Ms Canavan said: "We are still, largely, in the preparation phase - getting the country ready and putting the necessary infrastructure in place, in particular the medical infrastructure, to deal with the surge when it comes.

Compassion

"A group of senior officials from across Government and relevant agencies is working together on this matter and is guided and informed by the need for compassion and care for the families who will be affected."

A self-isolation and step-down care facility at the Citywest Hotel and Conference Centre in Dublin also came into operation this week.

The step-down care facility will provide 450 beds allocated to people who have tested positive and are recovering from the virus.