Under the Local Government (Sanitary Services) Act, 1948, if relatives wish to have a family member re-interred, an exhumation order is required for that purpose and is granted by the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government through the local authority for that area.

Separately, Coroners can have a role in the exhumation of remains when the death is considered suspicious by the Gardaí.  If the relevant Coroner is informed by a member of the Garda Síochána not below the rank of inspector that, in their opinion, the death of the person whose body has been buried in the Coroner’s district may have occurred in a violent or unnatural manner, the Coroner may then request the Minister for Justice and Equality to order the exhumation of the body by the Garda Síochána.  The Minister may if he thinks it proper, make or refuse the order.