The HSE are holding a public meeting this Thursday, January 10 to decide how to best upgrade the Holy Angels plot in Portlaoise cemetery, critized last year as being in “a bad, unkempt, state”.
Portlaoise Hospital are inviting parents and other interested parties to come to the meeting and form a consultative forum, whose job will be reviewing the best way of upgrading the plot in St Peter and Paul’s Cemetery.
The plot which contains the graves of stillborn babies, is owned by the HSE, and so cannot not be maintained by the cemetery caretaker. However last summer some parents who were frustrated by its dilapidated condition, took matters into their own hands and cleaned it up.
It is now reported to be full, and another plot has been purchased by the HSE nearby in the cemetery, says Portlaoise Town Councillor Caroline Dwane.
She is urging relatives of the babies buried there to attend the meeting and have their say regarding the maintenance of both the new and old plots.
“I would encourage anyone affected to engage in the process, in terms of future maintenance of both plots, I would love to see the families being the driving force behind it,” she said.
Last June she raised a motion at a town council meeting, after being contacted by upset parishioners about the dilapidated condition of the plot.
“I was contacted in the run up to the cemetery mass, as the plot is in a bad, unkempt state. 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. The Holy Angels plot stands out like a sore thumb.” she said at the time.
Just six people attended a remembrance Mass last December at the plot, including HSE staff and Cllr Dwane. No families of the babies were there, but Cllr Dwane says there were reasons for the small attendance.
“The weather was atrocious, and the HSE have told us they don’t have the right to write out to families regarding their plots,” she explained.
“It is vital the message about this forum gets out, because if parents are waiting to be contacted by the HSE, that is not going to happen,” she said.
The Hospital Management Team at the Midland Regional Hospital at Portlaoise will hold the open briefing meeting on Thursday at 7 pm in the Seminar Room in the Library Building of Portlaoise Hospital, close to the main reception at the hospital.
Anyone with queries can call Mary Fitzpatrick at 057-8696043 or email firstname.lastname@example.org