An investigation is to examine “a serious problem” at the new cemetery in Ennistymon.
At the January meeting of the West Clare Municipal District, Fine Gael Cllr Bill Slattery brought alive the issue to fellow elected members.
“While I understand that this is a very sensitive issue for the families affected and I do not wish to cause grief or pain to anybody. I am however asking Clare Co. Council to adopt a practical solution to rectify a serious problem that exists at the new cemetery at Ennistymon”.
Slattery suggested that they dig a line of eight to ten double graves at a time as already laid out and take out the large rocks or boulders that are underneath, back fill with top soil. “This will allow the families of the deceased and their undertakers to bury their loved ones without further undue stress, instead of having to bring in a large digging machine on the day as the ground in its present format is not fit for purpose”.
Responding on behalf of the Council, Betty Devanny noted “The pre-digging of lines of graves is not recommended as it would give rise to uneven settlement of the reinstated ground, leading to subsidence, cracking and ultimately to the failure of the footpaths and the foundation plints”.
Funeral directors in the Ennistymon area met with Council officials prior to the meeting of the West Clare Municipal District. They outlined their concerns and the local authority “agreed that further investigations will take place on the burial ground as a whole to establish the exact nature of the ground”.
According to Devanny, “A new location has been identified at the western end of the site, adjacent to the GAA grounds car park, where this type of material will be temporarily stored in the future”.
Cllr Slattery then stated that the council recommended the undertakers bring in rock breakers if mini-diggers were proving to be unsuccessful when removing the rock. He asked, “Where would you see this happening in a graveyard? The ground is not suitable and something has to happen”.
Fellow Ennistymon councillor, Richard Nagle was confused as to what delayed an investigation taking place. “It is at least two years since this first came to the council’s attention”.
“It needs to be treated with the urgency it deserves. It is a local authority cemetery. It’s not good enough for the local authority to be putting the onus on people who buy plots. The local authority bought the cemetery and it is up to them to ensure that it is fit for that purpose. I’m a bit disappointed that there are investigations taking place to establish the exact nature of the ground. I’m quite sure that just about everybody in Ennistymon is well aware of the nature of the ground”, the Fianna Fáil councillor told the meeting.
Investigations are expected to conclude this week.