INQUESTS are now being held in private, without families present, because of Covid-19 restrictions on social distancing.
Today, a number of inquests were set to take place in private in Cork city, with just Coroner Philip Comyn and assistant State pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster present.
It follows a similar move last Friday.
In each of the cases coming before the coroner, the family has given approval for the hearing to go ahead in their absence.
Witnesses, including gardaí, are also not present.
As a result, their statements are read into the record for the inquest, without them having to read through their statement themselves, or face questions from the coroner.
Jury inquests will not take place during the crisis.
Juries can be required at an inquest in the event of a violent death, a prison death, or an accident.
The unusual step is being taken to ensure that families will be able to be issued with a death certificate for their late family member.
Families are entitled to attend inquests but are not legally obliged to attend.
Neither do they require to have legal representation.