THE Department of Justice has been given permission to conduct a "high-level competition" to replace Deputy State Pathologist Dr Khalid Jaber after his shock resignation.
Dr Jaber quit from the role after a series of disagreements with his former boss, State Pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy.
Junior Health Minister Kathleen Lynch responded to a Dail question on behalf of Justice Minister Alan Shatter, saying that finding a replacement for Dr Jaber "is being pursued very actively by his department".
She said that the filling of the vacancy has been approved by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.
Ms Lynch added: "Obviously, it will be necessary to have a high-level competition to secure a suitable replacement for Dr Jaber and this will be arranged in conjunction with the Public Appointments Service."
She said measures had been put in place since the departure to ensure the state pathology service was able to conduct post-mortems that had to be carried out over weekends.
According to Ms Lynch: "Mr Shatter fully appreciates that a number of issues arise at an operational level in relation to the departure of Dr Jaber," but said that the primary service is still being provided by Prof Cassidy and another deputy, Dr Michael Curtis. This service is also being supplemented "as required" by Dr Margot Bolster, an assistant state pathologist.
Ms Lynch said: "Mr Shatter has been informed by the state pathologist that she has arranged for Dr Bolster to assume on-call duties which would previously have fallen to be undertaken by Dr Jaber."
Dr Jaber's resignation was sparked by a disagreement with Prof Cassidy over the circumstances surrounding the death of an alleged homicide victim.
The details of the case cannot be revealed for legal reasons.
However, it can be disclosed that Dr Jaber was deeply unhappy with the stance taken by Prof Cassidy in relation to the death.
He complained to the Director of Public Prosecutions about the disagreement and also mentioned it in his resignation letter sent to Mr Shatter last week.