'Let the bereaved mourn in peace'

Dónal Nolan

Mourners tending to their loved ones’ graves at a Listowel cemetery are increasingly having to deal with the unwanted attentions of loose dogs as owners leave their pets off the leash on the way to the nearby Town Park.

Sinn Féin County Councillor Tom Barry is now calling on Kerry County Council to take immediate action at St Michael’s Cemetery in Listowel over the threat posed by uncontrolled dogs.

Cllr Barry said he had been contacted by numerous locals on the issue in recent weeks and months.

“It seems the mindset people have is that they can leave their dogs off the leash as soon as they get off the street. And it’s a problem in St Michael’s Cemetery as many use it to get to the Town Park. It’s illegal under the bye-laws to leave dogs off in both areas, I’m calling on people to stop and think about people visiting their loved ones’ graves before they leave their dogs off the lead now in St Michael’s,” Cllr Barry said.

He raised the issue at a meeting of the Council in Listowel on Monday and was informed that the Authority had, in fact, erected new signs in the graveyard just last month, warning people against leaving their dogs roam free.

“It’s a very sensitive space where people come to visit their loved ones’ graves, often in the depth of their grief, and they don’t need to be dealing with loose dogs.

“One man recently told me that while he was at a grave two people came in and let their dogs off. But all he got was dog’s abuse when he asked them to put them on the lead.”

The Council informed Cllr Barry that it will monitor the issue closely. “It’s a serious concern with the potential for a dangerous incident if it is not addressed now,” Cllr Barry said.