€1000 too much for grave
A GRAVE will be the last and most expensive "slice of property" that a person will buy and it shouldn't cost €1,000.
At the Kanturk/Mallow municipal district meeting on Friday, Cllr Dan Joe Fitzgerald (FF) referred to the response to his previous query regarding the upkeep of graveyards in the area.
In the response from CCC it was outlined how maintenance works at graveyards primarily comprise cutting and strimming grass and vegetation along with the removal of dumped and discarded materials. It was pointed out that such works are typically undertaken over the summer and prime grass growing seasons.
However, the statement acknowledged that there have been situations where standards were not adequate, but did point out that this was partly due to weather conditions as well as staffing issues.
Cllr Fitzgerald said he was happy with the response and, in particular, to the final paragraph, whereby it is the council's aim that the overall maintenance regime for cemeteries in the district will be reviewed with the aim to provide a "cost effective and satisfactory level of service."
Cllr Fitzgerald said that a "more permanent structure" needs to be put in place, whereby graveyards shouldn't just be cleaned up prior to a funeral or a mass.
Chairman Cllr John Paul O'Shea (Ind) said he has been contacted by numerous people concerning the condition of graveyards. He also pointed out that in some regions when a caretaker retired he was not replaced, and said the graveyard at Burnfort was an example of this.
He added that communities were more than willing to roll up their sleeves and help out to keep graveyards looking well.
Senior Executive Officer Niall Healy said he accepted that the maintenance of graveyards was an issue. However, he also pointed out that the recruitment moratorium as well as the reduction of 26% of outdoor staff has all had a knock-on effect, as well as the changes in the organisation structure and in the boundaries.
However, he did outline a host of options to help alleviate these problems, such as assigning staff to graveyards as well as people taking responsibility for individual graveyards in their region. He also said community grant schemes as well as providing equipment would mean that the community would be "empowered to maintain their graveyards."
Cllr Timmy Collins (Ind) said the graveyards committees in both Clonfert and Kanturk should be applauded for the work that they do. However, he did point out that a plot which measures six feet by three feet is the last and most expensive "slice of property" that a person will buy and it shouldn't cost €1,000.
He said it was particularly expensive considering that grounds have been bought by CCC for "peanuts".
Mr Healy said that funding for maintenance comes from the CCC budget and pointed out that the plot fees are ringfenced for capital works. He also said it can be very expensive to buy land for new graveyards.
Cllr Mellissa Mullane (SF) said €1,000 was far too expensive. CCC already asks too much of the community and they shouldn't now ask them to maintain graveyards as well she added. She said the moratorium should be lifted.