The Minister for Justice and Law Reform, Mr. Dermot Ahern, T.D., and Dublin’s Lord Mayor Mr. Gerry Breen today turned the sod to formally commence work on a new joint facility for the Office of the State Pathologist and the Dublin City Coroner's Office, at the O'Brien Institute (OBI), Marino, Dublin 3. 

Located in the grounds of the Dublin Fire Brigade Training Centre at the OBI, the new state-of-the-art building is due to be completed by autumn 2011. It will completely overhaul and modernise the facilities for use in instances of death investigation and forensic pathology. 

Speaking at the sod-turning, Minister Ahern said: "Today is an important milestone in the development of a modern and high-tech facility for the State Pathologist and Dublin City Coroner. Befitting to the importance of both Offices' work in the Criminal Justice and Coroner systems, it will be a world-class facility that will serve the operational needs of each for many decades to come. Despite current budgetary pressures, I am pleased to have secured funding for this important project. It represents a significant and important investment in our criminal justice system and it is a practical demonstration of the Government's commitment to investing in public capital developments." 

The Lord Mayor stated: "This is the first Medicolegal Centre in the State for the City Coroner and State Pathologist and as such will play a vital role in death investigation and will form an important part of the infrastructure of our country. This development will provide a municipal mortuary with a capacity to hold up to sixty bodies at any one time. The Mortuary will be equipped to a very high standard comparable to the best facilities available. There will be enhanced facilities for staff, professionals and others involved in the death investigation process. This is a vitally important development for both the City and the State."

Minister Ahern concluded: "I welcome this partnership between the City Council and the Department of Justice and Law Reform to deliver this new facility and I look forward to seeing it completed. The close working relationship between the City Coroner's Office and the State Pathologist's Office is highly commendable. I’m sure both Offices will take advantage of further opportunities for cooperation in the future, reflecting the shared nature of this crucial State Asset". 

Jointly sponsored and funded by Dublin City Council and the Department of Justice and Law Reform, the development will include post-mortem and laboratory facilities built to the highest standards and equipped with leading-edge technology including a CT Scanner. 

6 September 2010 

Notes to the Editor 

The project is a joint venture between the Department of Justice and Law Reform and Dublin City Council, costing €13.8m with construction costs of 

€7.4m, with funding being provided on a two thirds to one third basis, respectively. The site has been provided by Dublin City Council. 

The new facility will be formally known as the ‘Medicolegal Centre’ and will incorporate two post-mortem rooms, laboratories and mortuary facilities for use by the City Coroner and the State Pathologist's Office. The overall floor area is 1,950 sq.m.

The Medicolegal Centre will replace the current facility that was provided following demolition of the old Victorian City Morgue at Store Street in 1999. The office and laboratory facilities for the State Pathologist will replace accommodation currently provided at the O’Brien Institute. 

The facility will be located within a landscaped site at some distance from the 18th century Casino at Marino in North Dublin. The new building will be the latest pavilion to sit within a landscape which was once part of the demesne of Lord Charlemont, which incorporated pavilions, ponds and grottoes in a ‘natural’ landscape. The new building is surrounded by a series of walled gardens which discretely enclose its private functions with a further roof landscape which has been developed as a garden of raised green planting in a chessboard form. 

The project design team comprised McCullough Mulvin Architects with Todd Architects, Cyril Sweett Quantity Surveyors, O’Connor, Sutton & Cronin Structural Engineers, J.V. Tierney Mechanical and Electrical Engineers, Cunnane, Stratton & Reynolds Landscape Architects and Margaret Gowen & Co. Archaeologists. The facility is being constructed by Michael McNamara and Company Limited who following an EU-wide procurement process were the successful tenderer having submitted the most economically advantageous bid.