Some of those who the HSE assisted included those who were made homeless prior to admission to hospital and had no family.
Figures from the HSE 2016 annual report shows that the executive last year spent €94,277 on “burial expenses”.
This followed a spend under the same heading of €91,000 in 2015 and €106,000 in 2014.
The detailed breakdown for last year shows that the biggest spender on burial expenses in the HSE was Cork University Hospital at €40,834 — accounting for 43% of the national spend.
The breakdown shows that the spend was highest in the HSE South and South Eastern area containing Cork University Hospital and totalled €62,830. In this area, University Hospital Waterford spent €6,358 while a further €6,336 was spent on burial expenses at District Hospital Carlow.
The figures also show that St Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny spent €3,418 on burials with Wexford General Hospital spending €3,887. The spend at Kerry General Hospital in 2016 stood at €1,611.
The second highest spend was in the HSE East Coast where the spend totalled €10,390 for 2016 and this was made up of a spend €5,070 in the Central Mental Hospital Dundrum and €5,320 at St Colmcille’s Hospital in Loughlinstown. The third highest spending area on burial expenses was the HSE Midwest area where the spend totalled €9,988. That included a spend of €7,540 at the University Maternity Hospital Limerick.
The figures, which vary widely across the HSE areas, are provided in a response to a freedom of information request. In the response, the FOI unit states that the HSE may pay for a person’s burial in a situation where a person may have been in a long stay or psychiatric unit for years, before being transferred to an acute setting upon becoming acutely ill “and there may be no record of living family members who would have made themselves known to that unit”.
The FOI unit stated that the HSE may also step in where “people who had been homeless prior to admission to the acute hospital may not have been in a position to provide details of family”.