Wednesday 16 October 2019

Burial plots in Rathnew Cemetery are being undermined by flooding

Cllr Gail Dunne at Rathnew Cemetery
Cllr Gail Dunne at Rathnew Cemetery

By Myles Buchanan

A councillor believes that water flowing directly underneath Rathnew Cemetery is undermining grave plots and leading to flooding in the graveyard.

Cracks have appeared on headstones and some graves have partially collapsed into themselves, causing Cllr Gail Dunne to call for the local authority to be more vigilant in their upkeep of the cemetery.

'You can see how some of the graves have actually began to sink. Cracks are also breaking out on some of the headstones, mainly in the old part of the cemetery. It's upsetting for family members who have loved ones buried there.

'Some sort of water source seems to be running underneath the graveyard and it is undermining lots of the grave plots. Sometimes before a funeral takes place the open grave is already full up with water and it has to be piped out. It's a terrible situation for families to find themselves in,' said Cllr Dunne.

The Rathdrum and Wicklow Joint Burial Board, of which Cllr Dunne was a member, used to maintain and upkeep Rathnew Cemetery until they were disbanded in 2014 and maintenance became the responsibility of the Environmental section of Wicklow County Council. Cllr Dunne thinks the Government move to make local authorities responsible for the upkeep of cemeteries as a backward step.

'I just don't think Rathnew Cemetery is as well looked after since the burial board was disbanded. The cemetery always looked well when the burial board was in place but I am afraid that doesn't remain the case since Wicklow County Council was given responsibility.'

In response Wicklow County Council will monitor the situation. The issue is mainly localised to one part of the graveyard and similar issues have also arisen at other cemeteries in the county. Some drainage works were carried out at Rathnew Cemetery a number of years ago but such works are difficult to carry out when so many burial plots and graves are already in place.

Wicklow People