Thursday, 13 December 1923

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 5 No. 23

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MINISTER for HOME AFFAIRS (Mr. O'Higgins): Information on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Zoom on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  I beg to move for leave to introduce the “Coroners' (Qualification) Bill, 1923,” which is:

“A Bill to declare certain persons who have resigned from the office of Justice of the Peace to be qualified to be appointed to be Coroners, and to validate the appointments as Coroners of certain persons who had not the statutory qualifications for such appointment.”

The qualifications for a Coroner prescribed by the Coroners' Act of 1881, are three-fold. The person to be appointed must be a Doctor, duly qualified and registered under the Act of 1858, a Barrister or Solicitor of the Supreme Court, or a Justice of the Peace of five years' standing. Deputies will remember that during the period of conflict with the British, the British Military Authorities ordered the cessation of inquests, and on the other hand the Ministers of Dáil Eireann urged Local Authorities to [1824] bring pressure on Coroners to hold inquests wherever there seemed to be a reasonable need for an inquest being held. During that period the Coroner of the City of Limerick and the Coroner for Westmeath died, and the Local Authorities in these areas had some difficulty in finding a successor possessing the statutory qualification.

In Limerick and in Westmeath persons were appointed to the office of Coroner, and functioned as Coroner, who had not the statutory qualifications, and I think it will be agreed that it is desirable to regularise and to validate these appointments. That is the main object of the Bill which I propose to introduce; to regularise the appointment of Coroner in Limerick City and in Westmeath. There is one further object covered in the Bill, and it is this: With regard to the fourth qualification—a Justice of the Peace of five years' standing—the Bill provides that persons who were Justices of the Peace for five years and resigned after January, 1919, shall not, because of such resignation, be now ineligible; that is to say, it would still be possible for a County Council to appoint to the office of Coroner a person who was a Magistrate of five years' standing, and who resigned between January, 1919, and the 6th December, 1921. I move for leave to introduce the Bill.

Question: “That leave be granted to introduce the Bill,” put and agreed to.

Second Stage ordered for 15th January, 1924, or an earlier date, should the Dáil meet earlier in the New Year.

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