Recognising service to the State / Private Inquests in the case of Suicide
Thursday, 03 December 2015

During the Order of Business in the Seanad, I said: We do not always recognise or praise the great work done by some people. I have just been at the human dignity award ceremony where the Ceann Comhairle presented an award to Barney Curley. I did not know the story of Barney Curley but the amount of work he does in Zambia, for which he is totally unpaid, is just wonderful...

It is great that we in this House can recognise such actions because it is important to do so. It is also important that the State as a whole does so and next week I will bring forward a Bill suggesting a Gradam an Uachtaráin, an official award from the President to people of standing who have done work such as this.Barney Curley is exactly the sort of man who would deserve that award.

I will take up another point to which my attention was drawn, that is, the question of private inquests in the case of suicide. Under the Coroners Act 1962, there is a legal requirement for an inquest to take place where the death has been violent, sudden or unnatural. In September last, Mr. Paul Kelly of Console delivered an address on the impact of inquests on the family of a person who dies by suicide. He suggests that we should be able to find a solution so that, when it is clear that the death came from suicide, the family could agree to have the inquest in private. His suggestion is worthy of consideration.

It is something we should be providing for. Mr. Kelly's suggestion is, at the behest of the next of kin, to allow for inquests for suicide to be conducted in the normal way but in camera, thereby relieving the significant amount of attention that families must go through whenever such a thing happens. It is worth considering this. I suggest that the Leader find a way in the new year to do something about that.

 
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