A senior official for Kerry County Council yesterday told a meeting of Killarney area councillors that a proposal to acquire land was nearing completion and he hoped to have it finalised this week.
John Breen, also manager of Killarney Town Council, said he was confident his efforts would be successful. He did not reveal the location but it is believed to be within, or close to, the Killarney urban area.
The news was welcomed by county councillors who had tabled four motions on the agenda seeking information on progress regarding land acquisition.
Mr Breen’s announcement came at the end of a discussion during which chairman Cllr Michael Gleeson said the situation had reached crisis level as there were virtually no grave spaces remaining in public cemeteries in the Killarney parish.
While spaces were available in cemeteries in surrounding parishes, he said people wished their loved ones to be buried in their own parish.
For many years, most Killarney burials have been in a privately owned lawn cemetery adjoining the Aghadoe public cemetery.
Escalating costs of agricultural land has made it more difficult for the council to acquire land near the town.
Late last year, the council put in a €240,000 bid for a 12-acre lot on a farm on the northern outskirts of the town, but the lot eventually went for €385,000 to another bidder.
During the Celtic Tiger era, the council was unable to compete with developers for land around Killarney.
It also sought land in Killarney National Park, but was told use of national park land for a graveyard would not be appropriate.
Killarney Town Council also offered to “swap” 14 acres it owns in the Mangerton area, inside the boundaries of Killarney National Park, for other land in the park which would be used as a graveyard. But the proposal did not succeed.
More recently, the issue was referred to the Office of the Attorney General for clarification but the council received no definitive reply.
A request was also made to the HSE for a proposed burial site on land attached to the now-closed St Finan’s Hospital in Killarney.