| 14.9°C Dublin

Works at flood-hit cemetery near end

SENSITIVE works on a historic Howth cemetery where graves were left exposed following unprecedented floods last October are expected to be finished by May.

Fingal County Council were forced to exhume a number of graves when a section of an 8m-high old stone wall surrounding St Mary's Abbey and its cemetery collapsed during the flood.

The wall collapse also piled rubble and clay against neighbouring businesses and apartments, forcing a local bicycle shop owner to move temporarily while the massive engineering project to make the area safe and secure got underway.

But the greatest priority for Fingal has been working with families left devastated by the exposure of graves and whose deceased relatives had to be exhumed.

Business owners and residents whose properties back directly on to the site have praised the workers for the dignity and respect that has been shown for the deceased and the locals.

"When they were carrying out the exhumations, the area was screened-off and I saw one young man who was involved carrying out the task with as much care and attention as if he had been leaning over the pram of one of his own children," said one local business owner.

The engineering work to underpin the remaining ancient wall of the abbey, which was built in the 14th Century, is expected to be completed in the coming weeks.

And the rebuilding of the wall, and reinterment of those exhumed, should be completed by May, Fingal County Council hopes.

Local business owner Paul Norton, who runs The Bike Hub in Howth, had to move premises while the works are being carried out.

"Fingal County Council have been good to deal with, and we are working together in good faith," Paul told the Herald.