THE Holy Angels plot for stillborn babies in the St Peter and Paul’s Cemetery is in an “appalling state” according to Cllr Caroline Dwane, who asked this week’s meeting of Portlaoise Town Council whether the caretaker for the cemetery can do anything about it.
The plot is owned by the HSE, which means that the cemetery caretaker can only carry out limited maintenance work. Remarking that she was extremely disappointed by the HSE’s upkeep of the plot, Cllr Dwane said that local people are prepared to volunteer to clean the area themselves.
“I was contacted in the run up to the cemetery mass, as the plot is in a bad, unkempt state,” she told the meeting. “Local people have volunteered to take action and clean it up themselves, there are dead reeds on the grave from four or five years ago and weeds are growing up through the middle. I’m very disappointed the upkeep is left with the HSE.”
Cllr Dwane also took issue with the rubbish bay in the cemetery, which she described as looking like “Kyletalesha stuck in the corner”.
“It looks disastrous, the Holy Angels plot stands out like a sore thumb,” she said.
Cllr Kathleen O’Brien recommended that Cllr Dwane organise a group to take the plot in hand, but she pointed out that many people would be afraid to touch other people’s graves, especially one where small children’s toys have been left on the grave by grieving parents.
“I’m not advocating that the caretaker removes the toys, but surely basic maintenance can be done,” replied Cllr Dwane.
Mayor Catherine Fitzgerald said that as the plot belongs to the HSE, permission would have to be sought from them before any work is carried out. Cllr Dwane reiterated that she had no faith in the plot being under the care of the HSE.
“The HSE don’t even have the good faith to respond to the town council,” she said.
It was agreed to contact the HSE on the matter and the situation will be reviewed.