More cars mean more problems in Clonmel cemetery, says District Engineer

St. Patrick's Cemetery Clonmel

Members of Clonmel Borough District have called for the appointment of a full-time caretaker at St. Patrick's Cemetery in Clonmel.

The increase in the number of cars driving into St. Patrick's Cemetery in Clonmel is damaging graves and causing the road surface to deteriorate, it has been claimed.

District Engineer Eamon Lonergan also told a meeting of Clonmel Borough District that a review of access arrangements to the cemetery needs to take place in 2018.

He added that in his view the provision of a caretaker isn't the solution, considering that two council staff are already employed there on a rotation basis.

Mr. Lonergan made his remarks when he responded to a request by Cllr. Siobhan Ambrose to have the position of cemetery caretaker re-instated, which she said would mean there would be a full-time staff presence there.

Mr. Lonergan stated there were many times when most of the lanes were blocked with cars. This caused issues for council staff trying to maintain the cemetery, not only effectively but safely.

"Undertakers are also finding it difficult to access areas of the cemetery with their hearses during burials", he said.

In the summer of 2015 a plan by the council to ban private vehicles from the cemetery, and restrict access to hearses and vehicles operated by council staff and those erecting headstones, was eventually abandoned after it was met with strong opposition by local people with family and friends buried there.

The District Engineer also told the recent council meeting that Clonmel town had its full allocation of council general operatives employed at present.

For the past five years two members of staff were based in the cemetery on a rotation basis, with a foreman planning and overseeing works there. 

Additional council operatives were also present in the cemetery for burial-related works.

"Reports from the foreman and council staff indicate that damage to the graves, headstones and kerbs is mostly occurring at weekends and at night. 

“Having a caretaker wouldn't prevent these out-of-hours incidents", Mr. Lonergan added.

Cllr. Siobhan Ambrose (pictured above) suggested that, as an interim measure, bollards should be placed at the corners of the lanes where graves were in danger of being damaged.

The cemetery had expanded significantly since 1993, when they last had a caretaker employed there.

She said that a caretaker would oversee the maintenance of the graveyard and ensure that grave kerbstones weren't damaged by negligent drivers.

Cllr. Richie Molloy sad that a caretaker would assist with safety in the cemetery.

Cllr. Pat English said the cemetery operated very well when they had a caretaker. 

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