Lack of notice of deaths is cause of Council’s ‘Sunday Funerals’ headache 28/09/17 : the chronicle.ie

Lack of notice of deaths is cause of Council’s ‘Sunday Funerals’ headache 28/09/17

| September 28, 2017

John Carley is one of the Directors of Services at the Co. Council. His main area of responsibility covers housing and given the current problems in that sector it is something which keeps him rather busy. But the community portfolio which he holds also has a range of other responsibilities. One of the less troublesome areas is cemeteries, or at least it should be.

But that has not proven to be the case this year. John brought forward new burial ground by-laws months ago. It was mainly a tidying up of various rules across different cemeteries controlled by the local authority so that the same rules would apply at all locations.

The proposals also included a cash grant for parishes wishing to extend existing cemeteries or to develop new ones and the overall package was expected to go through on the nod.

But the nod turned to a shaking of heads when it was discovered that you would no longer be able to get buried at any old time in a Council cemetery on a Sunday.

John was sent back to the drawing board and was then ordered to take his plans on a tour of the Council districts which is why he is still going around carrying his burial plans under his arm months after he first presented them.

And he has made certain concessions in relation to Sundays and the timing of funerals to win the support of councillors. When he appeared in Gorey last week he revealed the real crux of the problem.

It is all to do with people not providing the Council with adequate notice that they are going to die.

When people die at short notice prior to weekends there is an overtime issue for staff maybe even a question of availability.

If John could get more notice that people were going to die then he could be much more flexible. That’s what he was about to say, or some version of it at the meeting of the Gorey Municipal District Council when he suddenly stopped half way through but not before Robbie Ireton had his say. ‘It would be better if everyone died on a weekday’.

But in North Wexford the time of the funeral might be the least of the worries for families if Malcolm Byrne is correct. He says there is a capacity issue coming down the line with changing demographics and plans need to be put in place for the future.

A crematorium in the area might be a solution as suggested by Fionntan O’Suilleabhain but according to some of his colleagues the cost would be prohibitive. Fionntan pointed out that there was a pet crematorium in the area. He didn’t say whether or not he felt this should be extended to cover humans as well or if he was just making the point that in this regard pets were being better catered for than humans.

In any case John’s burial ground plans finally got the approval they need and under them rural funerals can still take place on a Sunday. But really if people could die earlier in the week and get buried on a Saturday it would make things much easier for John. And people should really try to be more considerate. With thousands of people on the housing list he has more to be doing than worrying about the times people can be buried on a Sunday but that is exactly what he has been occupying a lot of his time in recent months.

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