Collins Barracks in Cork city earmarked for temporary mortuary in coronavirus pandemic

Collins Barracks in Cork city earmarked for temporary mortuary in coronavirus pandemic
Collins Barracks Cork.

COLLINS Barracks in Cork city is ready to be used as a temporary mortuary during the Covid-19 crisis.

If there is a surge in deaths from the virus, as expected, the barracks is likely to be used as it is already designated a national mortuary site for major emergencies.

The number of deaths from coronavirus more than doubled to 19 yesterday. 

There were 10 deaths and 255 confirmed cases in the 24 hour period, the worst day since the crisis began in Ireland.

Two years ago, Collins Barracks was used to simulate a major emergency involving multiple deaths, during which a mobile morgue and body storage system were trialled.

Security sources have confirmed to The Echo that the location is expected to be used if there is a surge in deaths from Covid-19 in the southern region.

Cork currently has the second-highest level of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Ireland, with 154, behind Dublin with 774.

Yesterday, at a briefing at Government Buildings, the assistant secretary for social policy at the Department of the Taoiseach, Liz Canavan, confirmed that a group of officials are working on establishing temporary mortuary facilities in Ireland to deal with the expected growth in deaths.

She added that the issue was very sensitive.

"We are still in the preparation phase to deal with the surge when it comes.''

One security source in Cork told The Echo that a temporary mortuary, set up in Cork University Hospital after the Air India crash off the west Cork coast in 1986, could not be repeated in the event of a mass of deaths from Covid-19. 

''This time around, the hospital will be very busy treating patients of Covid-19 as well," he said.

Speculation that the Kilworth army training camp near Fermoy could be used, along with two other sites in Meath and Donegal, as an isolation centre has been ruled out so far.

Meanwhile, the LE Eithne naval vessel remains docked in Cork city, waiting to be tasked by the HSE for use as a test centre.

The LE George Bernard Shaw and the LE William Butler Yeats are being used in Galway and Dublin as test centres.

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