LANDOWNERS in Limerick are encouraged to turn their unwanted acres into burial grounds- for cash.
“People who have private land can approach Limerick County Council to build a graveyard,” Cllr Michael Sheahan, Fine Gael, told the Limerick Post. He added: “If they have the land for graves they could consider developing it as a business enterprise. This wasn’t possible five years ago because of the value of the land then”.
The lack of grave space in parts of Co Limerick has long been a contentious issue among politicians and the public.
Cllr Sheahan sad that that the only requirements for planning permission would be “good soil, parking space and access.”
He further explained: “Its harder for families to visit graves nowadays because there is no space in their hometowns so loved ones are buried far away, and there’s no crematorium”.
According to Limerick County Council, planning permission for the use of land as a burial ground stands at a charge of €200, or €50 for each hectare of site area.
At a recent meeting of the Co Council, Cllr Mike Donegan, Fianna Fáil, suggested that the authority: “expedite and budget for a new burial ground adjacent to Kilmallock town, with parking”.
He remarked that the lack of available plots was “causing distress” to the local community.
Meanwhile, Cllr Mary Jackman, FG, supported the motion, stating that the Castletroy/Monaleen area had been “explored” for extra burial space.
“People want to be buried in their own areas,” she exclaimed.
Fianna Fáil Cllr Eddie Wade, from Ballyneety, has long been campaigning for the provision of burial grounds.
“I’ll again ask the manager to please look at the need for cemeteries. A specific report should be done and this issue taken seriously. There are many unmarked and forgotten graves where nobody has been buried for 80 to 100 years,” he added.
There are approximately 240 burial grounds in County Limerick, of which approximately 70 are actively used.
However, Gerry Sheeran, a senior planner at Limerick County Council, said, the issue is not with a lack of space, but, that everyone wants to be buried close to their home.
“We have a lot of space in Mungret, but everyone wants to be buried in their home town. The council encourages people to create burial grounds if they have adequate land to do so,” Mr Sheeran remarked.