Council Diary 03/08/17 : the chronicle.ie

Council Diary 03/08/17

| August 3, 2017

Wexford County Council 01

John’s graveyard proposals are buried again over Sunday funerals

Some issues really exercise the minds of Co. Councillors, and it is not always the matters that might be expected to generate debate that become hot topics.

When the Director of Services for Community, John Carley brought forward his ‘Burial Ground Maintenance and Development Strategy’ some months ago he expected to get it through virtually on the nod.

Not least because it included funding of up to €25,000 for new parish burial grounds and extensions. However, his strategy was coupled with new Bye Laws for all Co. Council run burial grounds in the county and that’s where he ran into his road block.

The sticking point was not the cost of new graves or even the plan to privatise the digging of graves in local authority cemeteries. No it was the fact the by-laws included a line which said that there would be no Sunday burials except in special circumstances.

The Sunday burials are obviously big in some places because Bunclody councillor Barbara Ann Murphy has been up in arms about the proposed by-laws since she spotted the threat to the Sunday funeral and she had not been satisfied by the time the proposals came back for final approval at the July meeting of the Council.

Ending Sunday burials was taking a sledge hammer to a problem that did not exist in most rural areas, she suggested. And she was opposed too to the suggestion that funerals had to arrive in the cemeteries by 2pm.

Willie Kavanagh was nodding in support fearing no doubt that Sunday might never be quite the same again in Oylegate if funerals were prohibited on the Sabbath.

John Carley was perplexed. He thought everything had been agreed. But Mary Farrell was quick to point out that the draft had not, as promised, been presented to members at their district Councils.

And so for the second time John withdrew his proposals promising more consultation.

As he headed for the tea break Larry O’Brien helpfully suggested that as far as the deceased persons were concerned it would be of little consequence whether the funeral took place on a Sunday or any other day of the week.

It was the first meeting for the new Chair John Hegarty and he did an admirable job getting through the long agenda. He has introduced a little bit of Irish to the proceedings with the votes of congratulations now being taken in the native tongue.

If he wants to bring greater efficiency to proceedings in the future he might consider extending the gaeilge to other sections of the meeting because it was noticeable that several of the more talkative councillors spoke in much briefer terms when addressing the meeting through Irish.

Whatever about more Irish it seems unlikely that councillors will move their meetings from the Chamber to the roof of County Hall, whatever the weather.

The idea arose when Fionntan O’Suilleabhain suggested that it might be an idea to allow staff to work outside in the open air during very good weather. He came up with the idea, it seems, having observed hard working Co. Hall staff beavering away at their indoor desks during the recent heatwave.

He suggested moving things outdoors with furniture provided on the roof to set up outdoor offices.

The officials did not look too supportive of the idea and there was a warning from Paddy Kavanagh of the dangers of taking a similar approach to Council meetings.

He said that if debates got heated someone could get thrown off the roof. Deirdre Wadding agreed hinting that she might just be the one to encourage Paddy off the roof. ‘I knew we’d agree on something eventually’, said Paddy safe in the knowledge that when councillors return in September after their summer break it will be back to the Council Chamber rather than the roof for their meeting.

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