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Wednesday 23 July 2014

New Angels Plot to open at Newlands Cross

Old Glasnevin plot has reached capacity

Sam Griffin

Published 11/06/2014|19:08

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Ireland's first purose built infant cremator which is installed at Newlands Cross Cemetary Crematorium. Pictured is the non deminational temple.
Pic Steve Humphreys
11th June 2014.
The non denominational temple at Newland's Cross. Photo: Steve Humphreys

One of the country's oldest infant burial plots is to close early next year and a new plot will open in west Dublin, it has been announced.

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The Angels Plot in Glasnevin, which opened in 1968, will close next spring as it has now reached capacity.

The Glasnevin Trust, which operates five cemeteries across Dublin as well as two crematoria, yesterday announced that a new Angels Plot will be opened at the Newlands Cross Cemetery, near Clondalkin in Dublin.

The new plot will serve much of the west side of the city, as well as the area around Dublin central, which was previously served by the plot in Glasnevin.

A purpose-built chapel will is also to be developed “where parents and families can hold services and go to reflect and remember their child in a smaller private and intimate environment”, the Trust's CEO George McCullough announced.

“We have exhausted all of the space we have in Glasnevin,” he said.

The Glasnevin Trust has been liaising with the parent and family bereavement support service A Little Lifetime Foundation in the design of the new developments which will commence full a consultation and planning process.

The Angels Plot was originally used for the burial of stillborn and newborn babies, as well as “illegitimate children”, who had had died before being baptised. Glasnevin was one of the few cemeteries that allowed stillborn babies to be buried in consecrated grounds for many years. The plot will continue to be a burial ground for babies and children until it’s closure next spring. Some 16529 infants have been buried in the Angels Plot since it opened.

The trust also yesterday announced it has installed the country's first purpose-built infant cremator for stillborn and newborn infants, which is also located on the grounds of the Newlands Cemetery.

Cremation for infants requires a much gentler process as ashes can be lost if a standard cremator is used, according to the Trust. The infant cremator operates at around 400C which is half the temperature of a standard crematorium.

Mr McCullogh said the new cremator is smaller and is uses a solid hearth which ensures the remains can be full recovered and returned to families.

“There has been a lot of grey areas and uncertainty in the recovery of cremated remains from children, particularly children born pre 24-week and earlier,” he said.

“We can guarantee we will recover cremated remains from the cremation process of premature, new born, still born and very early cessation periods.”

He estimates half of all deceased people today are cremated instead of the more traditional burial process, with around 400 creations performed each year in Newlands.

He said this figure is expected to rise considerably over the next 15 years.

The Glasnevin Trust is governed by the Dublin Cemeteries Committee, a voluntary not-for-profit body, originally established by Daniel O'Connell in 1828.

Commenting on the recent controversies surrounding the deaths of children at mother and babies homes, Mr McCullough said the trust worked to be “as transparent and open as possible” and added yesterday's announcement had been planned weeks before the recent scandals emerged.

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