Sunday, January 19, 2014

€30k bill to correct council’s grave mistake

Burying people in the wrong graves and putting up incorrect headstones have cost Cork County Council tens of thousands of euro and it still has to “resolve” another three errors — which could prove equally costly.
In one case, “an incorrect burial in Kinsale” in 2009 cost the council €30,000.

The council also paid out €6,500 to rectify “an incorrect headstone and kerbing” erected at a graveyard in West Cork.

The council has admitted to three other blunders — one in North Cork and two in West Cork — which are still in varying stages of resolution.

It refused to reveal the exact details of the errors because it said it wants to protect the bereaved families.

However, the council has revealed that the blunders have not only cost it money but also “resulted in reputational damage to the organisation”.

The information was contained in a request for tenders for a computerised system which will be used to oversee the running of more than 285 graveyards currently under Cork County Council’s control.

The tender, which was issued on Dec 9, sought applications of interest in supplying the council with a state-of-the-art computerised system, which will be required to support “revised procedures and processes” aimed at preventing such mishaps in the future.

It is envisaged that the system will initially be used for compiling up-to-date records on the 24 most used graveyards in the county, which are mainly situated around the periphery of Cork City and in the larger towns of the county.

If it proves successful, the system will then be rolled out on a phased basis across all the other smaller graveyards in the county.

The system will have to issue an alert when a plot is allocated in advance or when a plot is filled.

It is more expensive to buy a plot in advance, because the local authority believes it will lose money due to inflation if it does not charge more at pre-use stage.

Prices in graveyards can also differ considerably. The most expensive are on the periphery of the city at Chetwynd on the Cork- Bandon road, and at Curraghkippane, near Blarney.

Much cheaper plots are available in a number of graveyards in West Cork.

The pricing structures will also have to be uploaded onto the new computer system and, in the event that people are paying in advance for a plot through stage payments, reminders will have to be generated via computer and notices issued.

The system must also be capable of inputting data on exhumation licences and headstone permits.

In addition, charts will have to be incorporated on the system so that council officials can plan in advance to either purchase additional adjoining land or a completely new site when an existing graveyard approaches capacity.

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