For all queries relating to organ retention, post mortem reports, death certificates, inquest dates and information regarding the release of a deceased person from the mortuary please contact your local coroner.
All of the coroner contact details can be found at www.coroners.ie.
All press queries should be addressed to the Department of Justice Press Office. They can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
As a transition year student, is it possible for me to apply for work experience at the OSP?
Due to the nature of the work in the Office, we do not facilitate work experience requests from transition year students.
How do I train to be a forensic pathologist in Ireland?
5-6 years in medical school (Trinity, UCD, NUI Galway and Cork) or basic degree then post graduate medicine (RCSI, University of Limerick).
After you obtain the medical degree, you will complete your intern training as directed by the university and its affiliated hospitals.
Following intern year you can either do a year or two clinical medicine or apply directly for a Histopathology position as a Basic Specialist Trainee. There is one scheme in Ireland and you will have to rotate around hospitals both in Dublin and around the country.
After 2 years basic specialist training you will complete your part 1 exam in Histopathology - the MRC Path. You then apply for a Higher Specialist Training post. HST will last 4-5 years.
In the UK, you can switch to a specialist Forensic Pathology training programme after 1 year at HST. After 3-4 years you sit your part 2 exam in Forensic Pathology - Fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists in Forensic Pathology. Once training is complete, you can practise as a forensic pathologist.
In Ireland this is not yet possible and you will have to complete your general Histopathology HST scheme and obtain your part 2 in General Histopathology - the FRC Path. After this, in order to practice as a forensic pathologist, you will require a Diploma in Medical Jurisprudence (Pathology). This is done through the College of the Apothecaries in London. It is the equivalent qualification to the FRC Path in forensic pathology. We would recommend that you do the Diploma in Forensic Medical Sciences first as this provides a lecture basis for the DMJ.
If you are interested in Forensic Pathology as a career, you will always have to do some Histopathology training. We would recommend that during the medical school and intern years, you spend some time attached to a hospital laboratory to see how it operates. The Office of the State Pathologist will take on students for research on a rotational basis so do keep in touch!
As a medical student/doctor, how do I apply for an attachment or research elective at the OSP?
Email us at the address above. Please give as much detail as possible in relation to your studies so far and let us know when you are available for the research elective. We will endeavour to get back to you as quickly as possible.
Who directs death investigations in Ireland?
The Coroner is responsible for directing investigations into all deaths covered in the Coroners Act 1962. For more information, please visit www.coroners.ie.
What is the process for involving the OSP in a death investigation?
When a body is discovered following a sudden, unexpected suspicious death, the Emergency Services, Paramedics and Gardaí are alerted. The Gardaí attend the scene and alert the Coroner. The Coroner requests the State Pathologist to perform a post mortem to determine the cause of death. Scenes of crime Gardaí (usually from the Technical Bureau) and sometimes the Pathologist attend at the scene. The body can then be moved to a local hospital (throughout the country) or to the Dublin City Mortuary in Whitehall (if the death occurs in Dublin) where the post mortem is performed.
What is the process for dealing with the discovery of bones in Ireland?
Contact your nearest Garda Station and they will be in a position to help.
Skeletal remains are usually found in one of two ways:
Bones are brought into the Garda station – ‘I was walking my dog/along the beach/in a graveyard etc.’
- take as many details as possible (when and where found, position, surrounding environment etc.)
- Photograph the bone (with scale) and email photographs to the above address.
- The OSP will advise on the next course of action.
Bones are reported as being found but have been left ‘in situ’
- seal off the area.
- Get scenes of crime to photograph bones and surrounding area.
- Inform coroner and contact the OSP as outlined above.
If the bones are animal:
No further action is required and they can be disposed of.
If the bones are human:
The local coroner must be contacted. They will decide, based on discussions with the Gardaí, as to whether the Office of the State Pathologist and/or an anthropologist is required.