Councillor Noel Gleeson lamented the current rise in headstone size in Limerick cemeteries stating that people are creating “large monuments, not headstones” at a council meeting at City Hall yesterday.
Cllr Jerome Scanlan supported the call for some form of regulation. “I was at my local graveyard in Aglish recently, and it is very well managed by the caretakers. But the increase in headstone size has made management very difficult,” he said.
“We need to forget the council and speak to those who maintain the cemeteries, it’s about the community,” he continued.
There appeared to be a mutual feeling among all councillors that action was needed sooner rather than later and that an over democratic process would hinder progress.
St Olivers’ Cemetery was cited by Cllr Scanlon as primary cause for concern.
There had been a previous amendment to the Burial Ground Regulations Act in 2013, but it did not deal with the issue at hand or with the bylaws.
Cllr James Collins highlighted how sensitive an issue this is as he reminded the council that “rather than get caught up with headstones and monuments, we must remember cemeteries are a place where we bury our close friends and family. We even buried one of our great heroes Anthony Foley not so long ago.”
“It is a place where we bury our loved ones. Sometimes we need rules and regulations, sometimes we need discretion,” he said.
It was also agreed that a one size fits all amendment would be difficult, as all cemeteries have different requirements and needs.
It was then suggested that the council will work with other city and county councils in order to find a viable solution
Chairperson Michael Hourigan said “we will try to come up with a more suitable agreement, but it is about trying to strike a balance between respecting those already buried, and those put in place of management”.