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Sunday 17 December 2017

No inspections in place to detect bodies taken from coffins

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

THERE are no special inspections at Irish ports to detect bodies removed from coffins or hearses during shipment.

The revelation came as it emerged that, beyond routine security spot-checks at ports, the inspection regime relies on declarations in advance from families or funeral directors that bodies are being shipped into Ireland.

Hearses are checked to ensure all documentation is in order, but port officials have never had a scenario in modern times where a body was removed from a coffin or hearse and brought in undeclared.

Controls are more strict at airports than ports because of the obvious difficulties in moving a body from an aircraft without attracting attention.

However, if a body is removed from a coffin as it is brought through a port -- as apparently occurred in the Kerry case -- its detection falls to random inspection checks by gardai and Customs & Excise officials.

Given the huge daily movement of vehicles through Irish ports, inspections are carried out on a random basis and in accordance with risk-profiling techniques usually focused on smuggling and security.

Irish Independent

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