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The Irish News, 15 February 2006:
Coroner seeks new law to notify families of inquests
By Michael Brennan, PA
The Dublin City Coroner yesterday called for a change in the law to ensure that families were notified of inquests.
There is curently no legal requirement for families to be notified although most of the Republic's 45 coroners have a practice of adjourning inquests if relatives are not present.
Dr Brian Farrell said the requirement should be made part of legislation to replace the Republic's 1962 Coroner's Act.
"I would welcome statutory provisions making it mandatory that adequate and timely notice be given to families.," he said.
Dr Farrell was giving evidence to the Oireachtas sub-committee on justice, which is examining the murder of forestry worker Seamus Ludlow, below right, in Dundalk in 1976.
Judge Henry Barron found in his report that the Ludlow family were only contacted by gardai about the inquest into their brother's death 45 minutes before it was due to begin and, as a result, none of them were able to attend.
The families are usually contacted on behalf of the coroner by the gardai investigating the death.
In Britain, this task is performed by officials from the coroners' service.
The sub-committee on justice also heard evidence from retired detective sergeant Owen Corrigan, who was a key figure in the Ludlow murder investigation.
He said he had travelled to Belfast in 1979 to meet officers from the RUC about a bombing in Dundalk.
Mr Corrigan said he was disappointed by their lack of cooperatoion but was very excited when they passed on the identities of four loyalist paramilitaries suspected of carrying out the Ludlow murder in January 1979.
But Mr Corrigan said he was absolutely devastated when he did not receive authorisation from C3, the Garda security section, to travel across the border again to follow up the information.
The four suspects were arrested in Northern Ireland in 1998 but the DPP decided not to initiate any prosecutions.
The sub-committee on justice is due to hear evidence from Judge Barron on Thursday.
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