€800,000 to remove trees and add graves to Laois cemeteries

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

€800,000 to remove trees and add graves to Laois cemeteries

Mountmellick's cemetery which has had these trees cut down as part of council works.

A detailed survey of all 37 council owned cemeteries in Laois has shown that €800,000 work of work is needed.

More grave spaces are to be added to some cemeteries while others will get illegally planted trees removed that are said to be pushing up graves.

In the Borris-in-Ossory Mountmellick Municipal District two cemeteries are getting 133 new grave spaces between them.

Mountrath will get 69 more spaces marked, with that job out to tender by Laois County Council.

Ballyfin will get 64 new plots at a cost of €15,000.

Over this winter, new paths and grave plinths will be marked out.

Another two cemeteries are getting maintenance works including chopping down trees that were planted without permission.

Mountmellick cemetery is getting a €10,000 maintenance job to remove some of its mature evergreen trees. That work is underway.

Camross cemetery is also having leylandii trees removed at a cost of €17,000.

It is prohibited in council bylaws to plant trees without permission in their cemeteries.

Environment Engineer Orla Barrett led the survey and is overseeing the works.

“We have looked at all our cemeteries and have costed €800,000 of works. They are being done on a priority basis,” she said.

She gave details at the October meeting of the district for the cemeteries prioritised in that area.

Cllr James Kelly told her that there will be no more room in Mountrath when this new section is full, as the cemetery backs on to the town’s secondary school.

“Once it’s filled up there is no more land,” he said.

Ms Barrett replied that the number of graves needed is a prediction based on local statistics.

Cllr John King asked if a grave plot can be bought in advance and what the price is.

He was told that it is council policy not to sell any ahead of time.

“Unless you are in an immediate need they cannot be bought in advance,” Ms Barrett.

She added that a double plot can be bought for a single burial, to allow for future needs.

She said that the cost of a plot varies depending on the cemetery, from about €350 to about €480.

Cllr Seamus McDonald asked if the council will help to fund work at Clonaghadoo cemetery.

Ms Barrett told him that as it is not a council owned cemetery, they could merely offer advice and consider a planning application.