Banks adding to trauma of bereaved familiesJune 15, 2012 - 7:15am
by Dearbhla Geraghty
The Coroner for West Galway has criticised banks which are refusing to accept temporary death certificates that he issues to bereaved families while the investigation into the cause of a death is ongoing.
Dr Ciaran MacLoughlin was speaking in City Hall yesterday after the adjourned Inquest into the circumstances surrounding the death of Martin Fox (53), of Carnmore West, Oranmore. He died on December 20 last year, following a work-related accident.
The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) are currently conducting an investigation into the fatal fall on a construction site in Barna village and, normally, the inquest would not be held until this was fully completed.
However, Dr MacLoughlin allowed three witnesses to be heard, so that a full death certificate could be issued to Mr Fox’s widow, Audrey, and young daughter.
In the meantime, he told the family that the Probate – dealing with Mr Fox’s estate – could be put in order, as a death certificate would be issued.
“Banks are not accepting temporary death certificates issued in good faith by the Coroner,” he told the Galway City Tribune afterwards.
“The next of kin are, therefore, obliged to go to an open hearing to get what they are entitled to anyway (death cert), and will have to come back again after the HSA has gone through its investigating – it is double exposure to a very traumatic situation.”
He added that, in normal circumstances, a temporary certificate is issued by the Coroner immediately following the death, and a full certificate is made available to the family within a week of a concluded Inquest.
However, with the new policy of the banking sector not to accept these temporary certificates, he says that in the absence of Probate proceedings being allowed to go ahead, those bereaved are left with huge financial burdens
“The temporary certificate goes out immediately, while investigation is ongoing, but mortgages can’t be paid out, as all the monies are tied up, and funerals can’t be paid for,” he said.
For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.