LOCALS in Ballylongford say they are deeply upset that they can no longer bury their loved ones in the village because Kerry County Council has failed to provide a new burial ground in the area, despite numerous promises.
Since last November the local authority has said it intends to develop a new cemetery on a two-acre site opposite the old school at Lislaughtin, but despite several renewed promises nothing has been done, leaving locals with no option but to bury their loved ones in nearby villages and towns.
This week, local man Brian Fincuance of the People Before Profit Group, described the delays as unacceptable, and said that locals are pleading for urgent action. He said the fear now is that the local authority will renege on its promises to provide a new cemetery.
A spokesperson for Kerry County Council, however, confirmed that the project is still very much a priority but has been delayed because of staffing issues.
"We have the land and we have the money to progress the project in the next couple of months but reduced staff numbers and an increased workload is making it impossible to get to everything ," KCC communications officer Padraig Corkery told The Kerryman. "I can give an assurance, however, that the project is a priority and we are hoping to move on it before the end of the year."
Mr Finucane said that he was aware of local families who have been forced to bury their loved ones in neighbouring villages because the was no space left in either of the two existing cemeteries at Lislaughtin and Aughavalin.
"The lack of movement on the issue is upsetting for everyone involved because it means that if you don't already own a family plot here, you simply have to bury your loved ones outside the parish. We've already lost our garda station and our fire station and now we're being told we can't even bury our dead here."