‘When you are dealing with the dead we shouldn’t be saving on pennies,’ said Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) at a recent meeting of the West Cork Municipal District in Dunmanway.
He was reacting after being told by Council officials that it would cost in the region of €20,000 to build a boundary wall at the rear of Ardagh cemetery in Rosscarbery. Both himself and Cllr Declan Hurley (Ind) had raised a motion calling for the Council to erect a solid block or precast boundary wall at the rear of the cemetery.
Cllr Hurley said that he had recently attended a public meeting in Rosscarbery about the issue and said the mood there was that residents want some sort of boundary or wall.
‘They feel it’s being neglected and it’s unfinished and animals are going into the cemetery and gorse is growing there,’ said Cllr Hurley.
‘They maintain the grounds themselves but, out of respect for their friends and family members, a wall should be built.’
Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) said he can’t see why a wall can’t be built and said this is one area where they can’t be ‘scrounging.’
‘Cemeteries should be respected places and the least they should have is a wall in order to give those buried there dignity and respect,’ said Cllr Carroll.
‘As far as I’m concerned, when you deal with the dead, we shouldn’t be saving pennies,’ said Cllr Carroll.
Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan (FF) also lent his support to the motion and said the idea of a wall makes sense.
‘Cemeteries are one of the few things we have jurisdiction over and, to a lot of people, they are important places to visit and the better and the more pleasant we can make these places, the better,’ said Cllr O’Sullivan.
Cllr Paul Hayes (SF) noted that there are donkeys and ponies in the adjacent field and he said ‘it doesn’t look good’.
Cllr Karen Coakley (FG) also supported the motion.
Council official Mac Dara O h-Ici told councillors that it would cost €20,000 to build a concrete block wall there.
However, he suggested that if the fencing there was improved and the grazing removed it would be less costly.
Cllr Hurley said that it ‘doesn’t have to be a Berlin Wall’ and that the community there are willing to come on board and help with the costs of building a wall. However, he was told that a contractor would have to be employed to build it and that there would be health and safety guidelines that would have to be adhered to.
Cllr Hayes said that figure sounded ‘excessive’, while Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) said that there are lots of issues with graveyards and that ‘most of us will land there some time’ and called for more land for graveyards.
Council official Justin England said that they could take the money out of the GMA (General Municipal Allocation) for 2020 but that would affect funding for other community projects. He said they would look into the costs and come back to councillors with a report on the matter.