Saturday, March 31, 2012

Grave concerns: Council seeks to reclaim plots

The home repossession controversy has taken a macabre turn in Limerick. 

Long-time residents in the city’s graveyards are facing "time up" notices from the city council.

A new bylaw being pursued by Limerick City Council would allow the local authority to take ownership of old family graves in the city’s graveyards.

A spokesperson for the council said the proposed bylaw referred to graves that were more than 40 years old and which had fallen into disrepair.

However, councillors are furious that residential matters are bad enough for the living, without upsetting the dead.

Cllr Joe Leddin (Lab) said a fund should be set up to repair graves rather than take them from their owners.

"While there are issues with many graves that have deteriorated, I believe the city council should carry out appropriate remedial works without the necessity to take ownership of the grave of a particular family.

"I can foresee a situation where a family member who may have emigrated and wants to be brought back to Limerick to be buried in the family grave and finds they no longer have a right to the grave.

"Under the proposed new bylaw, the council would then own the plot and may not open it up."

The bylaw will be debated at the April monthly meeting of the city council.

Limerick undertaker Ger Griffin warned that the council will find it next to impossible to bring in a new law as families have burial rights enshrined for generations under old laws.

"We have family members who have lived abroad for decades and whose burials have taken place in old family plots. But we find the authorities are now using every regulation they can to disallow burials in old plots and that you can’t open old graves to bury remains among old remains as has been done for generations because of health and safety reasons."