Forensic Science Ireland has said its case submissions from An Garda Síochána increased by nearly 10% last year, with its scientists handling a record number of cases requiring DNA analysis.

In its annual report it said that five historic missing persons cases were solved last year, due to the introduction of new forensic techniques.

It also said that the country's DNA database assisted in over 800 criminal investigations last year alone.

FSI received 16,000 submissions from the Garda last year and provided analysis for 13,000 criminal investigations.

Its annual report states there were increases in cases involving both DNA and complex drug analysis last year.

It worked on 4,500 cases requiring DNA analysis, 500 more than the previous year.

Over 7,500 drug cases were analysed and of these there were 570 more complex drug cases.

FSI scientists also worked on 50 cases involving firearm residue and explosives.

The report states that over 11,000 DNA profiles were uploaded to Ireland’s database by the end of last year, and that the database assisted in over 860 investigations in 2018 alone.

A number of new forensic techniques were also introduced to help in the identification of previously unknown human remains.

This led to the successful resolution of five historic missing persons cases in 2018.

The director of FSI has said the organisation is "extremely proud" of helping to solve five historic missing person cases.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Chris Enright said a combination of innovations and new technologies have helped them identify remains found in rivers and at sea.

He said they have also introduced "familial searching software that allows us to correlate people from families of missing people ... with bones or human remains we find".

He said in the case of Joseph Brendan Dowley - an Irishman whose unidentified remains were found off the Welsh coast before being buried in an unmarked grave - it was "very rewarding" to be able to identify his remains.

"We know this has a profound impact on the family members when we arrive at a successful match," he said.

Mr Enright added that FSI recruited ten additional staff last year and plans are in place to take on a further 26 in 2019.

He said this is "going to have a significant bearing on our ability to manage backlogs".

He added that he is hopeful construction will start on a new lab later this year, saying the groundwork was finished last April.