Following from the Government's recent decisions on further anti-crime measures, the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr Michael McDowell, T.D., announced today that Professor Ingvar Kopp has been appointed to carry out an immediate review of the resource needs of the Forensic Science Laboratory and the wider scientific context in Ireland. Professor Kopp is the former Director of the Swedish Forensic Science Laboratory (SKL) and a founding member of the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes.

The Government's Anti-Crime package, recently announced, includes immediate additional resources for the Laboratory and a major investment in a new laboratory facility is also already at an advanced stage of planning. Professor Kopp's review will, however, provide an external and highly expert assessment of the future human resource needs of the Laboratory, taking into account the impact of increased Garda activity and the needs arising from the anticipated establishment of a national DNA database. It will also examine (i) the scope for improved liaison between the Laboratory and the Garda Síochána and (ii) the promotion of forensic science in Ireland in the context of DNA related developments. The review will take as its benchmarks similar organisations of excellent repute in other comparable jurisdictions and have regard to best practice generally in forensic science research and training.

To assist Professor Kopp in his work a steering group has also been put in place, comprised of Dr. Sheila Willis, Director Forensic Science Laboratory, Professor David J. McConnell, Professor of Genetics at Trinity College Dublin, Detective Chief Superintendent Noirin O'Sullivan and a Departmental representative.

The review will commence immediately in the New Year and will report to the Tánaiste by end March.

27 December 2006