Saturday 17 August 2019

Gardai to stop using Waterford mortuary for State cases

University Hospital Waterford. Photo: Tony Gavin
University Hospital Waterford. Photo: Tony Gavin
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

Gardaí will not use the mortuary in Co Waterford for any more State cases after concerns were raised about the facilities at the site.

It is understood that post mortems for criminal investigations in the south-east of the country will now be conducted in Dublin instead.

The change in protocol follows recent consultations between gardaí and the State Pathologist’s Office over the mortuary’s condition.

Concerns were raised about how evidence could potentially be contaminated at Waterford University Hospital’s mortuary. The State Pathologist’s Office has written to gardaí confirming the change.

However, a Garda spokesperson said it will not comment on operational matters or third-party letters. 

Last October, four consultants wrote to the hospital warning that inadequate conditions resulted in some bodies being left on trolleys in corridors and, without proper temperature controls, they were leaking fluids and beginning to decompose.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was recently forced into an embarrassing apology following public outrage over comments he made about conditions in the Waterford-based mortuary. 

He had suggested that there was no evidence to support claims by the medical consultants about its condition.

However, in a statement this weekend, Mr Varadkar said he wanted to “apologise unreservedly” to anyone who felt he did “not treat this issue with the seriousness or sensitivity it deserved”. He also admitted: “This one I got wrong.”

“As I have said before, my overriding concern is for the dignity of patients in life and in death. It has never been in dispute that the mortuary is sub-standard and needs to be replaced,” he added.

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