Martin Browne TD
Tipperary County Council needs to introduce a workable system instead of escalating burial fee disputes, according to Cashel-based Deputy Martin Browne.
Teachta Browne said:
“Tipperary County Council needs to back down from its hard-line and unreasonable stance on burial fees and introduce a system that is accessible for all. If the local authority refuses to do this, then it is grieving families that will suffer the most.
“I believe that the County Council must first of all back down from the hard line it abruptly communicated to funeral directors. Instead, the Council should be sitting down with undertakers to come to an arrangement that takes the interests of all parties into account – the County Council, grieving families and funeral directors.
“The Council should not be trying to use undertakers as their debt collectors, no more than they should be trying to put the financial responsibility for the purchase of graves on undertakers.
“I’m also of the view that only allowing the purchase of a plot when a bereavement occurs is wrong.
“It presents an additional challenge to bereaved families who are trying to deal with the passing of a loved one. People in this situation shouldn’t have to put the council’s demands ahead of their own grieving process.
“But essentially, this is what the Council is seeking to enforce on people.
“This is why I am suggesting that in addition to consulting with undertakers, the Council put aside a period of time each year when people can purchase graves.
“This would enable many families to make preparations for bereavement in a manner that suits them and their financial circumstances, and will avoid a situation in which people would be faced with having to deal with the pressure the council seems to want to put on them at the most saddening of occasions.
“To facilitate families with a proper payment plan may also help all concerned.
“Giving families this ability to prepare for the future could also result in the council facing fewer outstanding debts, which I believe are occurring partly because of the restriction on the ability of people to purchase plots ahead of time.
“If the Council does not soften their stance on this and rethink what I believe must be a knee-jerk reaction, then they need to tell the people of Tipperary how they plan to enforce it. Are they going to turn funerals away from St Michael’s and Cormac’s cemeteries?”
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