Farmer wins right to be buried on his land

A single farmer in Co Mayo has won the right to be buried on his own land.

Farmer wins right to be buried on his land

Martin Neary, who is from Swinford, took his fight to An Bord Pleanála when Mayo County Council refused his initial request for a burial plot.

Mr Neary, who is an atheist and has no next of kin, wanted to be buried in a private burial plot on his own land. In his application, he stated that he wants to erect a simple headstone with the names of deceased family members next to the proposed grave.

Mr Neary stated his intention that the land will never be sold or redeveloped and that no grazing would occur on the site.

In her decision, An Bord Pleanála inspector Lorraine Dockery said Mr Neary’s appeal was one of only three such developments brought before the body in the last 11 years and was unlikely to set a precedent.

She said Mr Neary’s wish to be buried on his land did “not raise any issues of principle”.

“I can understand the need for concern with regards to setting of precedent within large, urban areas,” she said.

“However, in this instance, the application is for a single plot within a rural, agricultural area where there is no evidence of widespread demand for such facilities. The proposal is therefore considered acceptable in principle, subject to compliance with all relevant criteria.”

Ms Dockery said that the impact of a decomposing body on groundwater “would be limited”.

She also found that the proposed burial plot would be a sufficient distance from dwellings and posed no issues in relation to traffic safety.

The planning appeals board also found the planned plot would be a sufficient distance from dwellings, wells, and the water supply infrastructure.

“I would also be of the opinion that such a development, of the scale proposed, would have a lesser impact and for a more limited timescale than sewage effluent from a single house,” said Ms Dockery.

Speaking to the Western People newspaper, Mr Neary said he was “delighted and shocked” and said he simply wanted to be buried on the land where he had worked most of his life.

“I have seen people put into nursing homes,” said Mr Neary. “Alzheimers is also a frightening disease so I thought I would have things arranged.”

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