Funeral directors continuing burials and cremations with 'utmost dignity and respect'

Funeral directors continuing burials and cremations with 'utmost dignity and respect'
Rows of graves are prepared with the help of a mechanical digger in Sixmile Cemetery in County Antrim, in Northern Ireland, as the coronavirus death toll continues to rise. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Funeral directors say they are more mindful and sensitive than ever to the pain of bereaved families.

Despite it being the most difficult time for arranging funerals, they continue to carry out burials and cremations with the “utmost dignity and respect". 

Funerals are limited to 10 attendees because of Covid-19 and rules that there must be physical distancing between mourners.

The Irish Association of Funeral Directors is urging people to work with them during this crisis as their staff are on the frontline.

Association member, Colm Kieran, said they are doing their “level best” to provide the bereaved with a quality and caring service:

We are more mindful and sensitive than ever to the pain of bereaved families who are trying to grieve and say goodbye under these restrictions and we are working tirelessly to comfort those in their anguish.

P Townley and Sons funeral directors in Drogheda, Co Louth, say they have found that most grieving families understand why they can not have a traditional funeral. Funeral director, Paula Townley-Crosbie, said she has received positive feedback from several families in the past week. 

She said the families had been dreading the thought of not giving their loved ones the expected traditional send-off but had found that the funeral had passed off better than expected: “One person said that taking the gathering right back to the immediate family was not as difficult to deal with as they had thought it would be. They sat and reminisced, told stories and shared some precious family time."

Funeral directors continuing burials and cremations with 'utmost dignity and respect'

Ms Townley-Crosbie said they were reassured that the undertaker will arrange for a large circle of family and friends to celebrate their loved ones at a memorial service at a later date.

Members of the Irish Association of Funeral Directors handle almost 80% of funerals across the country every year.

Mr Kieran, a member of family undertakers, Kieran Bros. Funeral Care in Kingscourt, Co Cavan, says association members are distributing leaflets produced by the Irish Hospice Foundation. The leaflet has information on planning a funeral in these exceptional times and is also available on the foundation’’s website and is updated when new guidance is announced.

Meanwhile, a leading Irish embalmer specialising in infectious diseases is preparing to accept the remains of up to 500 people, who died from Covid-19, at his mortuary in Navan, Co Meath.

Glyn Tallon has installed additional refrigeration units at the mortuary which is designed to cope with a major disaster. He is working with Meath County Council to accept bodies from the north-east initially but said there might be a backlog of cases due to delays in test results.

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, there is no evidence so far of disease transmission but they recommend that those coming in direct contact should wear personal protection equipment.

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