Steps had to be taken to remove illegally dumped household waste in Clonoghill graveyard, Birr after piles of rubbish, containing domestic waste, were discovered at a number of locations throughout the graveyard.
Early last week, the “Clonoghill Clean Up Crew” wrote on its social media that on inspection of the various different litter sites in the graveyard, they found that some areas contained domestic waste.
The group continued: “The council will not put a skip in the graveyard because of people abusing the system and putting household rubbish into it and you can't blame them. We are now at the end of our patience regards this situation. We are now going to start naming and shaming people.”
“If you bring a water bottle to the graveyard to water flowers, bring the bottle home, it's that simple. If you are clearing dead flowers off a family grave, put them in a black bag and take them home, it's that simple.”
Another lady the Tribune vented that “disgusted is an understatement”. Pointing to recent photos taken in the graveyard, the lady said this was what “greets loved ones visiting their families' graves at the cemetery in Birr, just inside the gate by the water tap. Someone has even taken their bin bag of household rubbish and dumped it there,” she continued.
Urging people to address the situation, the woman asked people to take photos on their mobile phones and send them to the Council and the local Gardai.
Meanwhile, the Clonoghill Clean Up Crew was set up two years ago and comprises of a number of local community members. The group was formed to raise awareness of the fact the local graveyard was in huge disrepair and that not only had the employment of two community scheme workers, both of whom were a huge asset to the graveyard, ceased but also the local authority were short staffed meaning the graveyard was not being maintained at the time.
The group decided to arrange voluntary clean-up operations and received huge support from the community as well as offers of sponsored items from local businesses to assist in their efforts. When it was noticed the group were serious in their endeavours, a public meeting was arranged and a number of ideas of how to address the issues at the graveyard were discussed at the time.
However, concerns were raised over the issue of liability and the local authority eventually arranged for contractors to cut the grass. These contractors are currently still in place.
However, Clonoghill CUC believe the graveyard is “still in bad shape” and it's their opinion that there should be another solution put in place to deal with the verges and the general up keep of the area.
In a statement to the Tribune, the group explained “the biggest thorn in our side has been the litter issue and lately an enormous pile of waste was taken away by the council. However, this is an ongoing issue and there are now four mini dump areas again in the graveyard, one which lies on top of unmarked graves. Worst of all, it appears this litter contained domestic waste and is a problem the council has had to deal with for years.”
“We feel if you can set up cameras on quiet rural roads around the county then can we not install the same in Clonoghill with a fine issued for offenders. Also, lately people have begun to fill rubbish bags and leave them behind. We are currently looking at the concept of a recycling area and maybe a compost heap but again these all have to policed.”
A spokesperson for the group told the Tribune that during a recent conversation with a supporting councillor, they learnt these issues are up for discussion at the next meeting of Birr Municipal District and the “matter is not being ignored. We can only wait and see, in the meantime, while graveyards around Offaly including rural ones remain in maintained condition, sadly Clonoghill is not”.
Speaking this week, Cllr John Carroll confirmed the latest piles of rubbish had been removed after they were discovered and the contractor had also been in to cut the grass. He said he was in touch with the Council directly on the matter when he became aware of the situation and the litter warden had also visited the site to investigate if there was any evidence of ownership in the rubbish.
According to Cllr Carroll, this rubbish was then subsequently taken away and the site cleaned up and added the contractor would continue to be on site regularly over the course of the summer to cut the grass at the graveyard.