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'Forget CSI - you'll end up stacking shelves if you follow in my footsteps'

SHE prefers to work with the dead rather than the living.

But State pathologist Marie Cassidy admits the real money is turning Jessica Fletcher in Murder She Wrote -- not solving cases.

Dr Cassidy, who chose the pathology path after realising becoming a GP wasn't for her, warned schoolgirls from St Louis Secondary School at Rathmines Library not to study anything with 'forensic' in the title.

It was too specific a course, and there were not enough jobs in forensics, she said.

"Otherwise, you'll be stacking shelves in a supermarket for the rest of your life," Dr Cassidy added.

While she urged others to follow in her footsteps, Dr Cassidy says it will be a long, tough road.


If the students wanted to become forensic scientists, then Dr Cassidy recommended a pure science degree, biology, chemistry or physics.

Asked why she wanted to work with dead people, she joked it was because she "didn't like the live ones".

She explained that her interest in forensic pathology dated from her days as a medical student.

She didn't want to work as GP because "on a Monday morning, they're all back again". And the the woman who has helped investigate some of the countries most high-profile murders ruled out being a consultant as she doesn't like hospitals, but the problem-solving part of pathology appealed to her. She warned forensic science is still "not good enough" to specify the time of death within minutes or, in some cases, even hours.

"The best we can say is within half a day, unless we are actually with the person at time of death," the State pathologist said.

She also explained how when giving evidence in court, she is not, as many people might assume, working for the prosecution.

Dr Cassidy ended her talk with a slide showing the logo for television show Murder She Wrote. "You make lots of money by writing about it (crime). One of these days I might do just that," she added.