Councillors have hit out at anti-social behaviour at St Cormac’s Cemetery in Cashel where “parties” are being held for commemorations at the graveyard.
At the meeting of Tipperary/Cahir/Cashel Municipal District on Monday, Fianna Fáil’s Cllr Roger Kennedy tabled a motion asking that the members be given an update on any efforts attempted to ensure the implementation of the existing agreed rules and regulations pertaining to St Cormac’s Cemetery.
Addressing the virtual meeting, Cllr Kennedy raised the problem of certain behaviours at the site and the height of some monuments which are in breach of the graveyard’s regulations.
It is an “important issue for the people of Cashel” and has been “ongoing for a number of years”.
The Bye-Laws and the rules were agreed by “everyone” he added and the local representative said he has been raising the issue of enforcement for three years.
“Parties are being held in the cemetery.
“People, adults and children, in groups brought in seats and were drinking and entertaining themselves to commemorate somebody who had passed on,” Cllr Kennedy said.
Speaking after the meeting, he said: “There were a few incidents, one major one and a couple of small ones during the good weather in May. They brought seats and the cans, the slab of cans. It’s an annual kind of thing.”
He told the meeting that young people are also wandering around the cemetery and dogs are allowed to roam freely and defecate on footpaths. Dogs are supposed to be on a lead at all times in the graveyard.
He said there are monuments where the height hasn’t complied with the rules of the graveyard for such structures.
“It’s not good enough. People are coming from all over the country with connections to the town to be interred in Cashel.
“It’s not good enough that youngsters are playing there and dogs are roaming freely. People are running roughshod over the Bye-Laws that are there. It is affecting people who have relatives and family members interred there. There are a lot of issues in that graveyard.
“Nothing has improved in the last 12 months, they have gotten worse,” he said. He and other local representatives also looked for improved signage around dog fouling.
Cllr Declan Burgess seconded Cllr Kennedy’s motion. He said the Environment Section are carrying out a review of the Bye-Laws but he asked for a timeline for that review.
Cllr Burgess said: “I’m upset at the carry on at present. I visited the graveyard at the weekend and left intimidated.
“There has been a lack of management of St Cormac’s Cemetery. It is an embarrassment for this local authority.”
Cllr Michael Fitzgerald said: “Some people say that if someone wants to spend €4,000 on a headstone they should be allowed to do it. They shouldn’t if it’s destroying the graveyard.”
He also said that he had heard some people talking about having relatives dug up and relocated because of the carry on at the cemetery.
Anthony Coleman, District Administrator for the Tipperary/Cahir/Cashel Municipal District, said the suggestion that it is a “free for all” at the cemetery is not the case, he added that it is “far from it” and that the council has had difficult and challenging conversations with family members and contractors.
Where there are unauthorised structures and the council can’t locate the family members, they must wait until the family look to bury another relative at the site before they can ask them to remove the structure bit this presents its own problems.
Mr Coleman said that parties being held at the cemetery in recent times were a matter for the gardaí and were in breach of public health guidelines.
Both he and local representatives encouraged members of the public to be vigilant and report such instances to An Garda Síochána.
He said the review of the Bye-Laws is at a county level but is an “opportunity to tighten up certain aspects” and he questioned whether the council should not sell plots to people outside the county but there could be legal issues around such a measure.
He said the council would continue to ensure that the Bye-Laws are enforced. Mr Coleman agreed to look into the dog fouling issues.
While St Cormac’s facility is run and managed by council staff, Cllr Kennedy said there were some members of the community willing to set up a committee to help with the maintenance of the cemetery.
Mr Coleman said he would be happy to engage with any local committee. When Covid restrictions allow there will be a meeting to help set up a committee to assist the supervision of the cemetery.
Last October, it was revealed that Tipperary County Council generated €412,974 from the sale of grave plots during the period January 1, 2018 to June 30, 2020, according to figures obtained by The Nationalist under the Freedom of Information Act.
A breakdown of the figures shows that the council generated €170,463 in 2018, €152,290 in 2019 and €90,221 for the first six months of this year. There are 204 cemeteries under the control of Tipperary County Council.
A person seeking a grave plot must contact the registrar of the burial ground, who will then allocate a space.
Where there is no registrar for the burial ground, then a person seeking a burial plot must contact the Environment Section of Tipperary County Council.
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