Disabled Limerick mourners must make appointment to visit graves

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Cars parked at the entrance to Castlemungret Cemetery

“You shouldn’t have to make an appointment to visit your mother’s grave on Mother’s Day.”

That’s the opinion of Sharon Reidy, a newly-disabled woman whose mother, Carmel, is buried in Castlemungret cemetery.

Since suffering a stroke last year, Ms Reidy has to use a walking frame to get around and using the pedestrian gates on Mother’s Day to go to the grave and having to walk uphill for some distance left her exhausted and angry, she told the Limerick Post.

The graveyard has a roadway running through it, which is wide enough for two cars to pass, but currently, the access gate for cars remains locked and will only be opened by appointment.

For her elderly father, Tom, who has mobility difficulties following an accident, it has always been a struggle to visit his wife’s grave and now Sharon shares his difficulties.

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“My mother is buried right at the back and there is a road but the Council told me the gates are locked because people were parking their cars there, getting the bus into town and returning late, so they were locked in.

“Just because some selfish people misuse the facility we all have to suffer. I say, let them be locked in. They’ll soon learn not to park there,” Sharon said.

The Council will open the gates to allow people to drive in but only if they make an appointment several days in advance.

“It takes about half an hour for me to get to the grave walking and then you only get a short time to visit before the gates have to be locked again. I’m tired of being pawned off with excuses.

“We live quite close to the cemetery and we took comfort when my mother passed that my dad would be able to pop over and visit the grave when he wanted, but now we have to make an appointment. It’s not good enough”.

To add to the difficulties, Sharon said that the only place to leave the car outside the burial ground has no turning area.

“You have to reverse out on to a busy road, it’s dangerous,”

Responding to a query from the Limerick Post, a council spokesperson said: “Limerick City and County Council appreciates the family’s concerns.

“The vehicle entrance in Castlemungret Cemetery is locked unless there is a funeral taking place. To gain access outside of these times, an arrangement can be made with a member of staff to gain access. This is the case with other cemeteries as well. There is a gate at the main entrance sufficiently wide to allow elderly/disabled persons gain access.

“We strive to make our cemeteries as open to the public as possible while allowing all those attending the graveyard feel safe and secure. We will look into the possibility of opening up the car park more so, while also maintaining the safety and security within.”