Graveyard maintenance needs to go "top of agenda"

Thursday, 13 July 2017

THE need to look at a long term plan for the maintenance of graveyards in the Birr Municipal District and to put the issue at the "top of the agenda" was strongly mooted this week.

It's understood that several cemeteries in the area were left in the lurch after the Gateway Scheme was wrapped up at short notice recently, meaning that regular clean up work was no longer being carried out at these cemeteries.

Speaking on Monday last at the Municipal District meeting, John Mitchell, Area Engineer for the Birr area, provided an update on the matter to local councillors. He noted the Council were "working with the communities" in the area on the matter particularly with regard to upcoming cemeteries masses.

He told the councillors that council staff were working in Clonoghill cemetery, Birr, over the weekend and were also on site earlier this week where they were carrying out work in preparation for its cemetery Mass.

The meeting also heard the preparations were being made with the local community to carry out similar work in Kinnitty's cemetery shortly as well. "We are working with the communities on this. But, we are working within a very limited budget," the engineer noted.

While welcoming the work in Clonoghill, Cllr John Carroll pointed out a long term plan needed to be put in place to address this overall issue. He asked whether the issue had gone before the environment SPC yet? Tom Shanahan, Director of Services, replied it hadn't yet come before the SPC. It was then suggested that perhaps the SPC could look at the matter with a view for next year's budget before Cllr Carroll pointed out that perhaps "just working towards Masses wasn't the best way to deal with this issue".

Cllr John Clendennen then said he was the Chair of the environment SPC and suggested that when it came up for discussion in the long term, perhaps a rota from March to October could be put in place for next year's work in the graveyards.

Cllr Sean Maher also welcomed the work and stressed the need for it to "be put on top of the agenda", considering the amount of queries this year on the issue. Cllr Peter Ormond concurred by saying it definitely "needed to be higher up our agenda to ensure this situation didn't happen again. When you see the response from people in relation to this matter, I think this is an issue we need to put on top of the agenda," he continued.


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