Council 'dead wrong' on major burial changes
Plans to ban burials at council owned cemeteries on weekends and after 2 p.m. were roundly criticised.
The bylaws, which were discussed at length at the February Wexford County Council meeting and again last Monday, fall under seveal categories, including the layout of burial grounds, burial plots, funerals and headstones. Under the bylaws no funerals will take place on Sunday except in the case of special arrangements and a limitation will apply on the number of plots that any person can purchase at any one time, the limit being two. Also, no funeral is to be booked to arrive at the cemetery gate after 2 p.m., expect in cases of special arrangements.
According to the Central Statistics Office the mortality rate in County Wexford is presently at 0.7 per cent, (approximately 1,020 people die in County Wexford each year). Funding for the provision and maintenance of burial grounds in the county is provided in the council's annual budget. €469,000 has been allocated for 2017 which is being used to pay caretakers' wages and expenses, maintainance grants to voluntary groups, capital funding for new burial facilities, grants to communities for new burial facilities and administration and technical salaries.
Cllr Barbara Anne Murphy said the council is using a hammer to crack a nut when it comes to its 2 p.m. funeral deadline.
She said the plan's architects may encounter problems implementing the Sunday ban and the 2 p.m. ban.
'It's going to cause a problem where there hasn't been a problem before. People are used to having burials at 4 or 5 p.m. and on Sundays.'
Cllr Mary Farrell said the bylaws led to a heated debate at a special policy committee meeting, adding that they should be debated at municipal level, before being voted on in the county council chamber.
Cllr Murphy said burials and graveyards are very emotive issues. Councillors agreed for the bylaws to be discussed at municipal council meetings first before deciding on what action to take.