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RIP Former State pathologist Dr John Harbison dies

The father of two served the state with distinctions for almost three decades – carrying out his last post mortem in 2003.

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John Harbison

John Harbison

John Harbison

TRIBUTES have been paid to former State pathologist John Harbison after his death was announced.

Professor Harbison, who was in his 80s, passed away peacefully yesterday, according to a death notice posted online.

The father of two served the state with distinctions for almost three decades – carrying out his last post mortem in 2003.

Responding to the news of his death earlier today, Trinity College posted a message of condolence online.

“We were saddened to hear of the passing of Prof John Harbison, Ireland's first State forensic pathologist with over 30 years of service,” a spokesperson for the college wrote.

“Prof Harbison graduated from Trinity in medicine in 1960 and lectured in medical jurisprudence for many years with us. Rest in Peace.”

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The former State Pathologist Dr. John Harbison

The former State Pathologist Dr. John Harbison

The former State Pathologist Dr. John Harbison

Among the most high profile cases on which his services were utilised were the Sophie Toscan du Plantier murder investigation, the Kerry babies case, the and the investigation into the Grangegorman killings.

The Dublin-born doctor in 1974 became the State’s first forensic pathologist.

Prof Harbison was born in the Howth area of north Co Dublin.

He graduated in medicine from Trinity College, Dublin, in 1960, where he lectured in medical jurisprudence for many years.

In 1991, he was appointed professor of forensic medicine and toxicology at the Royal College of Surgeons. As State pathologist he carried out some 100 post-mortems a year.

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Dr John Harbison at a murder scene

Dr John Harbison at a murder scene

Dr John Harbison at a murder scene

He is survived by his wife Kathleen, children Isobel and Austin, grandchildren Jack and Edith, brother Peter, son-in-law Conor, extended family and friends.

In line with government guidelines on public gatherings, his funeral service on Monday next will remain private for family and close friends only.

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