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CCTV cameras requested to catch cemetery flowerpot thefts in Laois

CCTV cameras requested to catch cemetery flowerpot thefts in Laois

CCTV cameras in the carpark at a Laois cemetery have been requested as a way to catch thieves stealing expensive flowerpots off graves.

"You wouldn't walk out with these pots. They are fine big pots costing €30 or €40. Unless you bring a wheelbarrow you wouldn't carry them. That's why I'm asking for cameras where cars are parked," says Portlaoise Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald.

The thefts were first raised by councillors some months ago but they are still going on she said.

"The amount of people that are so upset at their pots and flowers being removed, it's terrible. They are really really upset. I was talking to a friend who left flowers on her brother's grave the day before and they were gone.

"I never thought I'd be in a position to put down this notice of motion, and I don't do it lightly," she said.

Cllr Fitzgerald's motion addressed two more problems at St Peter & Paul's cemetery, the need for new footpaths in the lawn cemetery, and the need for a columbarian wall, which would hold urns of ashes of cremated people.

"The amount of people who really want to see this wall, it's astounding. It is much more common that people are being cremated. This is a huge cemetery and with our population and the demand, we have to try and get this as soon as possible," she said.

Her motion was seconded by Cllr Willie Aird, and also supported by Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley and Cllr Noel Touhy who are both on the cemetery committee.

Cllr Dwane Stanley reminded them of an attempted hijack of a car last year, when a man jumped into the back of an elderly couple's car leaving the gates and ordered them to drive. They jumped out and were rescued by passers by.

"That family is absolutely terrified to come near Portlaoise since," she said.

She also said it was important to cater for the growing Portlaoise population, noting a new section for people of Muslim faith in the cemetery. 

"I support the cameras but when someone is in a graveyard it's a very sensitive time, you can't really grieve or cry if someone is looking," Cllr Tuohy said.

Laois County Council replied however that "in light of the legal and regulatory difficulties associated with their installation", CCTV cameras are not being considered at this time.

However on the Columbarian wall, the council is seeking expressions of interest for a company to install one at St Peter & Paul's, on the Etenders website. The footpaths will be considered for repairs. 

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