Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Science lab gets planning approval

Justice Minister David Ford visits the Forensic Service of Northern Ireland's site in Carrickfergus (Stephen Hamilton/Presseye.com/PA)

Planning approval has been granted for a £12 million forensic science laboratory in County Antrim.

The centre for DNA processing and evidence recovery will be located at the current site of Forensic Science Northern Ireland (FSNI) at Seapark in Carrickfergus.

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said the project was a major economic boost for east Antrim.

"This facility will bring significant investment to the Carrickfergus area and construction jobs in the short term," he said.

Justice Minister David Ford said he was committed to delivering a faster, fairer justice system and FSNI had a vital role in that.

"The £12 million investment which I have allocated will help FSNI to respond to the ever changing demands of forensic science, ensuring the provision of a state-of-the-art, fully accredited service to meet the needs of the wider criminal justice system in Northern Ireland," he added.

Northern Ireland is set to be the first part of the UK to introduce a DNA profiling system that will effectively supersede the controversial low copy analysis technique. The method will start to be used in criminal cases later this year.

The equipment in Northern Ireland will be housed in a temporary lab at the FSNI site until new facilities open in 2015.

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