Forensic Science Ireland says that almost half of DNA samples taken from crime scenes can now be linked to a person.
Its annual report published today shows that FSI managed almost 10,000 drugs cases last year, an increase of 25%; over 5,600 DNA cases, an increase of 30%; and almost 1,000 toxicology and chemistry cases.
In 2019 the reference index of the DNA database grew by close to 10,000 profiles and close to 1,500 crime stains were added, according to FSI. It says that "significantly, 43 out of every 100 crime scene samples uploaded onto the database will now be linked to a person".
Staff also attended court on over 100 occasions last year, an increase of 27%.
The report also highlights the role DNA played in a number of cases such as the conviction of two men for the Hutch-Kinahan feud murder of Vincent Ryan, as well as a conviction of a man who tried to poison a colleague by smearing Thalium on a car door handle, and the conviction of a couple for committing female genital mutilation on their one-year-old daughter, the first such conviction in the State.
Forensic scientists also identified the body of Bobby Ryan in an unused underground tank in Co Tipperary, which led to the conviction last year for murder of Patrick Quirke in the longest criminal trial in Irish history.
Forensic Science Ireland also said it can now exchange DNA profiles with other countries through a treaty that enables fast information exchange.
In one such exchange with Austria last year, FSI was able to identify suspects for serious sexual assaults in both countries.
Director General Chris Enright said that while FSI has reduced backlogs in many areas it will need "a sustained increase in capacity" to meet the needs of the criminal justice system.