Saturday, February 04, 2017

Cremation eases issue over burial plot space in Killarney

An increasing preference for cremation is easing the problem of a shortage of public burial space in Killarney.

Undertakers, for over a decade, have petitioned Kerry County Council warning mourning families are under stress due to the shortage. Cllr Maura Healy-Rae claimed: “Shortly, a husband and wife will not be buried together.”

Killarney deaths average about 110 yearly but just ten double plots for new graves remain in the main Aghadoe Cemetery with existing family graves having space for 40 deceased.

A new graveyard, designed and earmarked south-east of Aghadoe will not be completed before space runs out, entirely. 

Undertakers said graves are “now dug deep” in Aghadoe and coffins can be alongside or top of each other. 

Exact information on the numbers of plots and the exact locations of the remaining burial spaces led to a heated debate in the council chamber.

She said undertakers need to know exactly where the plots were available and suggested remaining graves need to be clearly marked so everyone would know the exact number of spaces left.

There are fears pathways in the cemetery are being marked as ‘resting space’.

An older graveyard, at Muckross Abbey, is closed to ‘newcomers’ and accepts only burials of the town’s long-established families.

The popularity of Killarney as a retirement town — voted as one of the top ten places in the world to retire — is putting additional pressure on demand for grave space in Aghadoe.

About 1,400 plots, are available in outlying village cemeteries but an undertaker said: “People want to be buried in Killarney.”

The council insists space is available in the public graveyard at Aghadoe until the new graveyard becomes available. 

It has denied pushing Killarney families to opt for outlying graveyards such as Glenflesk, off the main Cork to Killarney road.

However, an increase in cremation is lessening the burden. 

Five years ago, an average of three deaths in Killarney led to cremations at Haulbowline but, last year showed 15% of all funerals in the town were cremations. 

“It’s amazing — it has really taken off,” one undertaker observed. 

A chief reason, he said, is cremation allowed for scattering of the ashes in favourite places, sometimes in several locations.

Meanwhile, a new cemetery at Knockeenduff, Killarney, and with 2,315 plots, it could have enough burial space for 35 years.

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