Sunday 23 November 2014

Family forced to dig up remains after blundering council sells grave

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

Published 24/01/2013 | 05:00

Relatives Ann Browne, Richard Miskella (son), Tommy Smiley, John Miskella (son), Sharon Browne, Catriona Parle, Tanya Miskella and Deirdre Miskella at the grave at Crosstown cemetary in Wexford from which the remains of the late Sean Miskella were exhumed
The mourners gather at Sean Miskella's new resting place
Sean Miskella

A FAMILY has had to exhume the remains of their loved one after a blunder by a local authority on a graveyard map more than 20 years ago.

Wexford Borough Council mistakenly sold somebody else's grave to the family of Sean Miskella.

The heartbroken relatives of Mr Miskella watched in horror as the 61-year-old's remains were dug up from their resting place in Crosstown cemetery in Wexford on Monday, five months after he was first buried.

A family member, who attended the cemetery on Monday, said it was "deeply distressing" for them.

She said Mr Miskella's widow Celie was "distraught" over the incident and condemned Wexford Borough Council's actions as "disgusting". She said the family had not received "any letter of apology".

The family only discovered the error after they were refused permission to put up a headstone.

The relative pursued the matter on behalf of Mr Miskella's widow before the council finally disclosed the error last month.

Gravediggers had to exhume the casket holding Mr Miskella's ashes before burying it in a new plot after it emerged that Wexford Borough Council had already sold his grave to a different family more than 20 years ago.

Wexford native Mr Miskella died from pneumonia in England last September. His family had carried out his dying wishes by flying his remains home to Co Wexford after his cremation.

However, just months after his relatives had flown to Ireland to attend his funeral, the council notified the dead man's family of the error.

They advised that Mr Miskella's remains would have to be re-located to a grave four plots away.

Wexford town clerk Pat Collins admitted that the local authority was to blame, stating the error more than likely happened 20 or 30 years ago when the grave was first purchased.

"We tried to rectify it as best as we could," he said, adding that the local authority was "very conscious" that the family were still grieving.

"There's no question, we made a mistake," he said.

Mr Collins said that Wexford Borough Council wrote a letter of apology to the Miskella family and offered them €2,000 to cover the expense of family members travelling to a second burial.

Mr Miskella lived with his wife, Celie, in Wolfe Tone Villas in Wexford town for most of their lives.

The couple moved to Brixton in London 12 years ago.

This week, Celie and two of the couple's four children, John and Richard, returned to Wexford to witness the exhumation and re-burial with other family members just five months after Mr Miskella's death.

Irish Independent

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