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Monday 24 July 2017

Son seeks permission to bury dad in family garden next to mother

Stephen Sacker with his dad Hugh Sacker (92) beside the grave of partner Alma in their garden in Co Wicklow. Photo: Damien Eagers
Stephen Sacker with his dad Hugh Sacker (92) beside the grave of partner Alma in their garden in Co Wicklow. Photo: Damien Eagers

Alan O'Keeffe

A Wicklow man is looking for permission to bury his father next to his mother in the family garden when he dies.

Stephen Sacker (38) has failed to get official consent to bury his father Hugh (92) next to his mother, Alma, under a yew tree at their home at Knockandarragh.

His father did not seek permission when he buried 46-year-old partner Alma in the garden in 1992. "I want to ensure my parents are not separated in death," Stephen said.

Hugh Sacker, a former professor of German at Trinity College, moved to Ireland with his partner Alma in the 1970s and the couple had six children.

The family home is situated on two acres beside an unsurfaced lane and the six Sacker children were home-schooled.

When Alma died from breast cancer, a doctor travelled from Dublin and issued a death certificate. Hugh and a friend dug a grave under two yew trees in the secluded garden, a few feet from the door of the house.

Hugh with Alma and one of their six children
Hugh with Alma and one of their six children

"We dug a hole and reverently laid her in it," he said.

Hugh said he does not believe in organised religion and described himself as "a non-violent anarchist".

He eventually received a letter from Wicklow County Council granting retrospective permission for the grave. Now Stephen wants to receive prior permission.

Last November, the council said it would not give permission Hugh to be buried in the garden.

Hugh said he realises his son is anxious about wanting to bury him with his mother, and he had not tried to persuade him bury him elsewhere.

A spokesperson for Wicklow County Council told the Irish Independent that it "does not consent to any burials" in the gardens of properties.

Irish Independent

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