102. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she will support reform (details supplied) to the Coroners Bill 2007; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44381/15]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): As the Deputy will know, the Coroners Bill 2007 provides for a comprehensive reform of the Coroners Act 1962 and of the existing coroner system, including the establishment of a new Coroner Service. It incorporates many of the recommendations made by the Coroners Review Group in 2000, and by the Coroners Rules Committee in 2003, as well as a detailed review of reforms to coronial systems in other common-law jurisdictions (particularly New Zealand and Northern Ireland).
The 2007 Bill is out of date and needs review in the light of:
- the changed public finances;
- the increased emphasis on delivering leaner, better integrated and more customer-focused public services; and
- developing coroner practice and caselaw, particularly on the application to coroners’ inquests of Art. 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
I can confirm to the Deputy that I support reform of the Coroners Bill 2007, and a review of the Bill has commenced, at my request, with a view to developing a plan for its progression.
As finalising the review is dependent on competing legislative priorities, I am not in a position, at present, to give a definitive indication on a timeframe for this project.