Inquests may be delayed for two years

The families of two men killed in separate workplace accidents in Cork within days of each other may have to wait up to two years for inquests to be heard.

Health and Safety Authority inspectors told Cork City Coroner’s Court yesterday that investigations into both deaths are ongoing.

Pending legal deliberations by the authority, and possibly the DPP, they said it could take up to two years before the cases can be dealt with in the coroner’s court.

Michael O’Donovan, 44, a father-of-three from Aghabullogue, Co Cork, and an employee of Cork County Council, was killed while working on a compound off Carr’s Hill last November.

Assistant state pathologist, Dr Margot Bolster, told city coroner, Dr Myra Cullinane, that the cause of death was severe head injuries due to blunt force trauma consistent with being struck by a telegraph pole.

HSA inspector Gerard McSweeney said his investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident is ongoing. It could take up to three months for his file to be prepared before it is submitted to the HSA’s legal department for consideration, he said.

If the file is then referred to the DPP and, pending directions from that office, he said it could be at least two years before the case could be heard by the coroner.

Dr Cullinane agreed to adjourn the matter for mention again in six months.

The inquest into the death in Cork City one week later of Diarmuid Cronin, 21, from Mallow, Co Cork, was also opened and adjourned yesterday.

He suffered severe cervical injuries due to compression of the neck which became trapped in a gravel loader, the inquest was told.

HSA inspector, Michael Flynn, also sought an adjournment of the inquest pending the outcome of his investigation.

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