Disposition of Remains Report for Ireland 2016
Registration of Death
Records of deaths in Ireland are held in the General Register Office, which is the central civil repository for records relating to Births, Marriages and Deaths in Ireland. Deaths must be registered as soon as possible and no later than three months, after the death. It is usually registered by the next of kin/relative. The registrar will require a Death Notification Form, which will state the cause of death. The doctor who attended to the deceased during their last illness will sign this form. The person registering the death must complete Part 2 of the Death Notification Form and sign the register in the presence of the registrar.
Before they can certify the Death Notification Form, A doctor must be satisfied about the cause of death. If a doctor did not see the deceased at least 28 days before the death occurred, or if they are not satisfied about the cause of death, the doctor must inform a Coroner who will decide if a postmortem is necessary. There may be a delay in registering a death where a postmortem is carried out. The death is automatically registered where an inquest or postmortem is held at the request of the Coroner. The Coroner issues a certificate to the Registrar containing all the details to be registered.
A Coroner, who is an independent official, has the legal responsibility for the investigation of sudden and unexplained deaths. His/her role is to enquire into the circumstances of sudden, unexplained, violent and unnatural deaths. This may require a post mortem examination, sometimes followed by an inquest. The post mortem is carried out by a pathologist, who acts as the Coroner’s agent for this purpose. The Coroner’s inquiry initially is concerned with establishing whether or not death was due to natural causes. A Coroner is not permitted to consider civil or criminal liability; he or she must simply establish the facts.
In situations where a medical certificate of the cause of death is not available, the Coroner will arrange for a post-mortem examination of the body. If the post-mortem examination shows that death was due to natural causes, and there is no need for an inquest, a Coroner’s Certificate will be issued to the General Register Office who will then register the death and issue the death certificate.
If death is due to unnatural causes, the Coroner is obliged to hold an inquest. The death will be registered by means of a Coroner’s Certificate when the inquest is concluded (or adjourned in some cases).
Information on obtaining a death certificate, including an application form and the appropriate fee, may be found on the website of the Register General, at http://www.groireland.ie/.
Maximum period Before Burial of Remains
Irish law does not place a time limit on burial. Remains are held at a mortuary pending receipt of the next of kin’s instructions. There is no fee by the mortuary for storage of remains for a reasonable period of time. However, some morgues have limited storage which may affect the amount of time remains can be kept.
The usual method of embalming is a full arterial embalming in accordance with the requirements of the British Institute of Embalmers (BIE) for repatriating human remains. The next of kin are encouraged to contact their funeral home to resolve any concerns about embalming and/or to advise if, for religious or other reasons the deceased should not be embalmed.
There are four crematoria in Ireland, three of which are located in Dublin and the fourth in Cork. Access to these cremation facilities is not restricted to people living in Dublin or Cork.
A medical referee at the crematorium must be satisfied that the next of kin/executor gave written permission for the cremation to take place; the attending doctor viewed the body before and after the death, completed the medical certificate and the necessary form stating that there is no reason why the body should not be cremated. The attending doctor is required to examine whether or not the death should be notified to the Coroner.
There may be difficulties in arranging an immediate cremation if the cause of death is unclear. In such cases, a Coroner may complete a Coroner’s Cremation Certificate which will allow the cremation to go ahead.
The next of kin can choose the appropriate casket for cremation. However, Irish crematorium regulations require that only combustible materials are used in the manufacture of coffins for use in cremation.
Caskets and Containers
Caskets/coffins and air tray units which are suitable for cremation, local burial and/or international shipment of remains are available and supplied by the nominated Irish funeral director.
Exportation of Human Remains
These can usually be arranged within 5 working days. Under United States Public Health Service Regulations, airtight body shipping cases (i.e. Ziegler Unit) are acceptable for shipment of embalmed remains into the United States. The funeral director must make an appointment to visit the Embassy once they have completed travel arrangements and compiled the necessary paperwork. To facilitate the export of whole remains from Ireland to the United States, the Embassy prepares a Consular Mortuary Certificate which includes flight details and consignee and incorporates the following documents:
- An original Irish death certificate or the Coroner’s interim certificate, in lieu of an Irish death certificate
- An affidavit from the funeral director stating that the remains have been properly prepared and packed for shipment;
- An embalming certificate
- The Coroner’s “Out of State Order” permitting the removal of the remains from Ireland and a declaration confirming the remains are free from infectious disease.
Exportation of Cremated Remains/Ashes
Cremated remains may be exported if they are accompanied by an original death certificate and the cremation certificate. An “Out of State Order” from the Coroner is also advisable. Post is not aware of any courier companies who will undertake to carry ashes. Airline passengers carrying cremated remains to the U.S. should declare the nature of the package to the U.S. and Irish customs and use a sealed nonmetallic urn to allow security screening.
The following fee schedules include cost estimates for interment in Ireland and repatriation of deceased’s remains and cremated remains from Ireland to the U.S. Costs are based on the exchange rate of May 31, 2016: $1.00 U.S. Dollars = 0.896 Euros; 1 Euro = $1.12 U.S. Dollars.
A. Local Burial: $4,850
Estimated costs include funeral directors fees, coffin, legal documentation/certificates, transportation of remains to a cemetery and burial at local cemetery
The overall cost is subject to the availability of a pre-owned/family burial plot. The cost of purchasing a burial plot varies depending on location. In Dublin, a new plot costs approximately $2,600; whereas, outside Dublin the cost would be approximately $800.
B. Cremation and Disposition in Ireland: $3,600
Estimated costs include funeral director’s fees, coffin, legal documentation/certificates, and transportation of remains to crematorium, cremation fees and disposition of ashes
C. Preparation and Shipment of Embalmed Remains to U.S.A:
East Coast (e.g. New York) $5,025
West Coast (e.g. San Francisco) $5,275
Mid-West (e.g. Chicago) $5,350
D. Preparation and Shipment of Cremated Remains to U.S.A.: $3,950
Estimated cost including funeral director’s fees, coffin, legal documentation/certificates, cremation fees and shipment costs
Please note: All prices quoted above are approximate figures based on estimations provided by local funeral directors and are subject to change.
Exhumation and Shipment
Remains may be exhumed once the consent of local authorities has been obtained. A local funeral director can arrange for the exhumation and shipment of remains.
The cost of exhumation is approximately $4,200 and shipment of exhumed remains would be approximately $4,475; however, this cost greatly varies as each cemetery, county, city and local health authorities will charge different fees for the various documents and permissions required. Additionally, the costs for shipment of exhumed remains may be more costly than a regular casket.
Required Documentation: A license to exhume from the local authorities, permission from the local Coroner and/or a Warrant to Exhume and authorization to exhume from the family/owner of the original grave are required. An exhumation must be supervised by an Environmental Health officer.
Autopsies (Post Mortem Examination)
A doctor must be satisfied about the cause of death before they can certify it on the prerequisite Death Notification Form. If a doctor did not see the deceased at least 28 days before the death occurred, or if they are not satisfied about the cause of death, the doctor must inform a Coroner who will decide if an autopsy (postmortem) is necessary.
A postmortem examination is a thorough medical examination performed by a pathologist to establish the medical cause of death. It is usually performed within 72 hours after the death.
Following the post mortem examination, the body will normally be released to the next-of-kin immediately after the examination has been completed. Although the need for a post mortem will not usually delay the funeral, the results may not be available for some time. In situations where a toxicology (drug) screen is required, it may be several months before the post mortem report is fully completed.
The death is automatically registered when an inquest or postmortem is held at the request of the Coroner. The Coroner issues a certificate to the Registrar containing all the details to be registered.
Local Customs Regarding Funerals, Disposition of Remains, Mourning, and Memorial Services: Burial normally takes place within 2 to 3 days of death following the release of the deceased’s remains. It is customary to have a viewing of the body at either the hospital mortuary, a funeral home, or infrequently, at the deceased’s home, either on the evening of the death or on the next day. A priest or minister may offer prayers for the deceased at the viewing. The tradition of holding a wake, a gathering of family or friends to celebrate the life of the deceased is still widespread in rural areas and less frequently, in the cities. Burial or cremation usually takes place after a morning mass or service, after which it is customary for the family to offer refreshments to the mourners at a nearby venue. Mourners frequently bring condolence cards and wreaths, but families commonly request donations to a local charity in lieu of flowers. Books of condolences in which mourners can express sympathy are common at all such services.
It is traditional to hold a memorial service, often referred to as the “Month’s Mind”, one month after the date of death, and again to remember the deceased at a service one year after the date of death.
Lists of funeral directors and related services in Ireland may be found on the website of the Irish Association of Funeral Directors and/or http://www.rip.ie/. Post can provide a list of funeral directors to the deceased’s family upon request. The quality of service available is on par with that which might be expected in the U.S.
DISCLAIMER: The U.S. Embassy Dublin assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms. Names are listed alphabetically, and the order in which they appear has no other significance. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the funeral directors, morticians and other service providers. The following list of funeral directors is a sample for quick reference only.
Clarke’s Funeral Home
Lower Main Street, Bailieborough, Co. Cavan
Mullen’s Funeral Directors
Market Street, Cootehill, Co. Cavan
Lanigan Funeral Directors
21 Beaumont Road, Beaumont, Dublin 9
Rom Massey & Sons, Funeral Directors
1/3 Dolphin’s Barn, Dublin 8
Telephone +11-353-1- 453-9166
Stafford & Sons Ltd, 60 North Strand, Dublin 3
Bradley Funeral Directors
95 Ard O’Donnell, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal
J.J. Connelly & Sons Ltd.
Flood Street, Galway
Glynn’s Funeral Services
High Street, Tuam, Co. Galway
Henry Rankin Funeral Directors
Alley Felix Rd, Portlaoise, Co. Laois
Telephone Number: +11 353 57 8620567
Mobile Number: +11 353 87 2562137
John Griffin & Sons Funeral Director
John’s Gate, Pennywell, Limerick
McGowan’s Funeral Home
Emmet Street, Ballina, Co. Mayo
Telephone number: +11 353 96 70669
Mobile Number: +11 353 87 2437063
Foley & McGowan’s Funeral Home
Market Yard, Sligo and Emmet Street, Ballina, Co. Mayo
Fennessy & Son Funeral Directors
112 Kickham, St. Clonmel, Co. Tipperary
Telephone Number: +11 353 52 6121765
Mobile Number: +11 353 86 2582875
Colliers Funeral Service Ltd.
Old Connaught Avenue, Bray, Co. Wicklow