Coffins no longer obligatory in Irish Republic

Coffin being placed into a hearse

It will no longer be illegal to bury bodies without coffins in the Republic of Ireland from next month.

Under existing regulations, a body can not be buried unless it is enclosed in a sufficiently strong material such as wood.

The change was made to facilitate Muslims, who are normally buried without a coffin.

However, after 1 June, anyone may elect to have a loved one buried without a coffin.

The Department of the Environment said individual cemeteries could opt out of the arrangement.

The new rule can be suspended if there is a health or environmental issue, such as a cemetery near a water source.