Sunday 4 December 2016

Farmer wins the right to be buried on his own land

Published 25/06/2015 | 02:30

Martin Neary on his farm following An Bord Planála’s decision to allow him be buried on his farm in Swinford, Co Mayo
Martin Neary on his farm following An Bord Planála’s decision to allow him be buried on his farm in Swinford, Co Mayo

A Mayo farmer has won a planning appeal allowing him to be buried on his own land.

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An Bord Pleanála granted the appeal of Martin Neary of Swinford after his application had been turned down by Mayo County Council.

Mr Neary, a single man with no next-of-kin, had initially hoped to open the grounds to the public with a number of gravel paths that would all lead to the centrally located grave. However, all public access arrangements were later removed and the site will no longer be open to the public.

The lands will never be sold or redeveloped and no grazing will occur on the site. Mr Neary's remains will be entombed in a concrete vault in order to minimise any impact on groundwater. He plans to erect a simple headstone with the names of deceased family members next to the proposed grave.

The private burial ground situated on seven hectares of farming land at Mullenmadogue, Swinford, will be for one person only.

An inspector for An Bord Pleanála said there had been no evidence presented "of widespread demand for such facilities in the general area".

Pointing out that only three such appeals were lodged for similar size burial grounds in the past 11 years, the inspector said: "It would be my opinion that the landowner's wish to be buried on his land at this location does not raise any issues of principle. The proposal would be unlikely to set a precedent.

"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."

On the issue of groundwater and public health, the inspector said the likely impact from the decomposition of one body would be limited.

Irish Independent

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