Details of investigation into ambulance fire death not shared with Kildare coroner

Coroner cannot progress inquest almost two years after tragedy

Leinster Leader Reporter

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Details of investigation into ambulance fire death not shared with Kildare coroner

Kildare coroner Denis Cusack

Details of an investigation being carried out by the Health and Safety Authority, and the Gardai, into the death of the Christopher Byrne at Naas Hospital on September 22, 2016 have not been shared with Kildare County Coroner, Denis Cusack.

Mr Byrne, who was in his 70s and from Suncroft, died in an accident after the ambulance he was in burst into flames at the entrance to Naas Hospital's emergency department. Two paramedics were injured as they tried to rescue Mr Byrne. 

At a sitting of the Coroner’s Court on Monday morning, Coroner Cusack  explained that he had not received information from the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) about the investigation. Superintendent Paul Dolan, representing the Gardai, explained that the Gardai had, only in recent weeks, received information from the HSA and had met with them.

The Coroner was exasperated that, almost two years, after the tragedy, he could not progress the matter.

Noting that the HSA Inspectors who attended the inquest were not in fact the legal representatives of the HSA, he said that he had written repeatedly to both the Board and the CEO of the HSA about getting information and having received no response he was assuming that he had been refused the information.

He understood that elements of an investigation can be confidential, but he said that such information was regularly shared on a confidential basis with the coroner.

The HSA Inspectors indicated that the investigation report would be completed shortly. 

The matter was adjourned to December 10 next.