Many people face being buried outside their own towns and villages as a graveyards run out of plots and there’s difficulty finding suitable alternative land in their localities.
The situation is becoming “critical”, especially in parts of West Cork where communities have a long tradition of ensuring people are buried in their own parishes.
A report given to councillors in the region showed that in some cases graveyards are now at critical capacity.
The council’s senior executive officer with responsibility for cemeteries, Mac Dara o hIcÍ, said that Glengarriff in particular was in difficulty as there are just a few plots left.
“We’re having difficulties finding a suitable (new) site because of the geography and geology of the area. We need to look for sites farther from the village. We’re in a crisis stage really,” Mr o hIcÍ said.
He added that Castlehaven New Cemetery, which is six miles on the Castletownsend side of Skibbereen, had capacity only up to next year. Again Mr o hIcÍ said there were difficulties finding a suitable replacement. “A number of landowners have been approached. It’s ongoing,” he said.
Meanwhile, Coronea Cemetery, which serves Skibbereen town, is also running out of space and Mr o hIcÍ said negotiations with a landowner in the area had been unsuccessful. He added that other options were being explored.
Cllr Adrian Healy (FG) said a lot of concern had been raised by communities and councillors had already received a delegation from Castlehaven Parish Council who highlighted their own issue.
He said council officials had suggested creating one large graveyard in Skibbereen, which would also serve Castlehaven.
“I can tell you the people of Castlehaven won’t want to be buried in Skibbereen,” Cllr Healy told council officials.
He and other councillors said people wanted to be buried in the areas where they had lived all their lives and this was important to them.
Cllr Healy added that the council might be able to acquire suitable land if it made “reasonable offers to landowners.”
Cllr Danny Crowley (FF) said it was very important that something to be done quickly to ensure that a new graveyard was secured within Glengarriff village and not outside it.
“The cemetery in Adrigole is also filling up quickly. We don’t want to wait until we reach a crisis point there as well,” Cllr Crowley said.
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