City Hall faces further questions tonight on Kilcully graveyard vandalism

City Hall faces further questions tonight on Kilcully graveyard vandalism
A section of the large crowd attending the public meeting in relation to Kilcully Cemetery, at the Commons Inn.Picture: David Keane.

CORK City Council will be asked at tonight's full council meeting for increased lighting, security and CCTV at St Catherine's cemetery in Kilcully.

The motion being brought by Sinn Fein's Cllr Thomas Gould comes after the Kilcully Community Action Group was set up on Saturday at a meeting of concerned families following vandalism at the cemetery. 

Five people were elected to the committee of the group at a well-attended meeting in the Commons Inn on Saturday. 

Mick Barry TD, along with councillors Kenneth Collins, Thomas Gould and Damian Boylan, at the public meeting at the Commons Inn.Picture: David Keane.
Mick Barry TD, along with councillors Kenneth Collins, Thomas Gould and Damian Boylan, at the public meeting at the Commons Inn.Picture: David Keane.

Up to €16,000 of damage was caused when five headstones were knocked over and items on 14 other plots were damaged at St Catherine’s graveyard recently.

A fundraising campaign is set to get underway within days by the action group to help families meet the costs of repairing the damage to the plots.

A Gofundme page will be set up and councillors will also be asked to make contributions to the fund from their ward funds, according to Cllr Gould.

A memo was released by Cork City Council to its members on Friday revealing the cost of the damage but said the council cannot "accept responsibility for damage to private property".

Some of the damage to headstones.Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Some of the damage to headstones.Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Cllr Gould said families who attended yesterday's meeting were worried and frustrated over the most recent attack at the cemetery. He said the incident was the latest in a number of attacks in recent months at the cemetery.

Cllr Tony Fitzgerald with Julie Green, Churchfield and Ann Buckley, Farranree, at the public meeting.
Cllr Tony Fitzgerald with Julie Green, Churchfield and Ann Buckley, Farranree, at the public meeting.

He will ask the council on Monday evening to install CCTV within the cemetery itself. At present, the CCTV system is in the car park and covers that area, as well as the entrances to the cemetery. He will also demand the roll-out of extra security to cover the entire site. 

Cllr Gould explained that the back of the cemetery opens into a field, making it accessible to vandals.

24-security has been allocated to the cemetery since January 3, by the city council.

Cllr Gould added that extra lighting is also required at the cemetery to ensure that CCTV images can be seen clearly.

He continued: "The families attending the meeting were very upset that people would do something like that. What kind of individual would do something like that?"

Cllr Kenneth O'Flynn with organising committee members Laura Carey and TJ Hogan.
Cllr Kenneth O'Flynn with organising committee members Laura Carey and TJ Hogan.

The damage at the cemetery was discovered on the morning of Friday, January 3. Some headstones were knocked off their plinths and the heads knocked off holy statues. Bottles of alcohol had also been left on some graves.

In recent months, vandalism included the tampering of headstones, ornaments being broken and items left by families on graves being stolen.

Gardai are currently studying CCTV taken from the car park of the cemetery as part of their investigation into the January 3 incident.

Details of the Gofundme campaign will be posted in the coming days on the Kilcully Community Action Group page on Facebook.

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