Tuesday 14 August 2018

Forensic lab on way to replace '70s facility

The Garda headquarters in the Phoenix Park in Dublin
The Garda headquarters in the Phoenix Park in Dublin
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

Work has begun on a new state-of-the-art facility for the forensic laboratory services used by the State to help prosecute thousands of criminals every year.

Forensic Science Ireland (FSI), formerly known as the Forensic Science Laboratory, has long been housed in a 1970s-built facility within the Garda Headquarters in Phoenix Park, Dublin.

But advances in technology and an increased workload have left the current offices and labs cramped and outdated.

The new facility will be a 9,550sqm, purpose-built facility in Backweston, Celbridge, just over the border in Co Kildare.

"The groundwork has started and the Office of Public Works has begun the tendering process to contract a company to build the facility," FSI acting director Sean McDermott told the Irish Independent.

"There are other laboratories, like the State Laboratory and the Agriculture Laboratory, already on the site, so the decision was made to also make it the home of FSI because many facilities could be shared.

"There is already security and services supplied to the existing labs, and these will encompass the FSI labs too."

The new laboratories are specifically designed to accommodate the unique need of a modern forensic laboratory to maintain critical standards of sample isolation and operation, and to avoid any risk of cross-contamination.

A major boost to crime solving in Ireland in recent years has been the creation of a DNA database, which is operated by the FSI.

Irish Independent

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