Strict rules on new cemeteries, including a ban on flowers on graves, caused distress for grieving relatives whose loved ones are interred in the new section of St Michael’s cemetery in Portarlington.
Rules recently posted up in the cemetery state that wreaths and flowers must be removed three weeks after burial. Flowers may be placed into fixed holders on a permanent gravestone, but nothing must be left or planted on the grave itself, to allow for grasscutting. Temporary wooden crosses are not permitted, meaning graves will be unmarked until permanent stones can be erected.
Michelle Christle, whose mother is buried there, was distraught to only learn of the rules when the sign went up.
“When we bought the plot we were not told, this has caused us immense grief. If we had known, we would have tried to find an alternative plot. I promised my mother I would always maintain her grave. She was a florist before she married. She was so particular about keeping my grandparents’ grave tidy and well looked after. This will look like a field of unknown soldiers, ” she said.
Laois County Council defended the new rules, saying they followed proper procedures by displaying the draft bye laws to the public, and received no objections.
A council official said “undertakers should have been aware”, and pointed out that flowers can be left on a plinth at the base of gravestones.