A worldwide search has been launched for a new state pathologist for Northern Ireland after the incumbent announced his retirement.
Professor Jack Crane is leaving the role after 24 years during which he dealt with the aftermath of some of the bloodiest days of the Troubles.
Appointed as head pathologist in 1990, the son of a Belfast shipyard worker joined the department 10 years earlier as a registrar.
During his career he examined the victims of many terrorist atrocities, including the 1987 Enniskillen bomb, the 1993 Shankill bomb and the 1998 Omagh bomb.
Stormont’s Department of Justice began the search for his successor with a series of job advertisements. As well as using the media in Northern Ireland, the department has placed the role in the internationally accessed British Medical Journal, with the hope of casting the net as wide as possible.
“The department is inviting applications locally and internationally,” said a spokeswoman.
Justice Minister David Ford paid tribute to the qualities Prof Crane brought to the job.
“His tenure was through some of the worst periods of violence and civil unrest in Northern Ireland,” he said.
“The leadership and professionalism he displayed as head of the State Pathologist’s Department throughout those periods is to be commended.”
The post has a salary of between £75,000 and £102,000.
Mr Ford said: “The position of state pathologist is a unique and exciting opportunity for a suitably qualified forensic pathologist to lead a department which provides an independent forensic pathology service to the justice system in Northern Ireland.
“This recruitment campaign follows the retirement of Professor Crane who has provided many years of excellent service and who has been responsible for developing a forensic pathology service for Northern Ireland which is of international renown.”
The minister added: “I wish Professor Crane all the best for his retirement and thank him for his continued support whilst arrangements are being made to appoint his successor.”