GRIEVING relatives have welcomed a return to work following the resumption of maintenance at local graveyards.
A spokesperson for Cork County Council confirmed that due to Covid-19 restrictions, work on maintaining the burial grounds was suspended, but that suspension has now been lifted and work on maintaining the graveyards has resumed.
In recent weeks, people from Glandore to Adrigole contacted their local councillors to register their complaints, while members of the public also contacted The Southern Star to express their concerns.
In Skibbereen, one person complained about the condition of the local cemetery saying: ‘It looks like a jungle. You can’t even see the headstones at this stage. It’s a disgrace.’ He also asked if the caretaker, who retired, was going to be replaced.
The Council spokesperson confirmed: ‘In the event of any staff changes, Cork County Council will put alternative arrangements in place to ensure minimal disruption to services.’
Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) confirmed that he had received numerous complaints. ‘Lots of cemeteries looked overgrown and abandoned and it was distressing for people who were grieving,’ he said.
The situation has prompted Cllr Collins to call for a review of how graveyards are maintained throughout West Cork.
He suggested that ‘caretakers – people outside of the Council staff – should be appointed to look after specific areas right throughout the year.
‘This level of neglect should not be allowed happen again,’ said the councillor, who had previously highlighted maintenance issues in Adrigole.
Although that situation there was rectified, he said there are still places, like Glengarriff, where the work is falling to community groups.
‘It’s good that the graveyards have all been strimmed and tidied up, but it is not right that people should have to come to their local representatives to complain about something as important as the community’s burial ground.’