Cork City Council slammed for failing to roll out graveyard security

Cork City Council slammed for failing to roll out graveyard security
Picture: Jim Coughlan.

People who have seen the graves of their loved ones vandalised in Kilcully graveyard have heard Cork City Council were meant to take action on the issue of security seven years ago.

Thousands of euro worth of damage was done to statues, headstones and items left on graves in a number of incidents earlier this month.

At a public meeting led by the Kilcully Action Group this afternoon, it was revealed that in February 2013, the city council passed a motion to appoint additional security features at four cemeteries in the city, including Kilcully, after a number of incidents took place.

Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Picture: Jim Coughlan.

The meeting minutes state that: “Installation of CCTV cameras with voice-over facilities and 24/7 monitoring is being advanced at all four cemeteries at present and should be completed within 6-8 weeks.

“Cameras will be positioned at the entrances to all cemeteries and at other selected locations within each cemetery.

“This security measure will act as a deterrent to youths entering the cemeteries after dusk along with providing continuous surveillance from dusk to dawn, a back-up patrol service will respond to any incidents detected and will call on the services of the gardaí should that be necessary.”

Whilst CCTV has been in place in Kilcully since 2011, the cameras only monitor the cemetery’s car park and what was promised in 2013 never materialised.

While two other city graveyards were given the additional security features, Kilcully was not.

Speaking yesterday, Veronica Cahill of the Kilcully Action Group highlighted that the devastation that occurred as a result of the vandalism could have been prevented, had the council followed through on the plans from seven years ago.

“If the Cork City Council had actually honoured that directive, we might not be here in this position today,” she said.

“We might not be here looking to see how it is that we can actually secure the peace of our loved ones in Kilcully.”

Ms Cahill accused the council of “fudging the issue” and said they have “failed miserably in their duty of care”.

Cork North Central Solidarity TD Mick Barry called for immediate action to be taken by the council, saying: “There were two [graveyards] where changes were implemented, there were two where it wasn’t. The two where it wasn’t have to be done now.”

Large numbers of people traveled to the grave yard to check their family graves and inspect the vandalism.Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Large numbers of people traveled to the grave yard to check their family graves and inspect the vandalism.Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Sinn Féin councillor Thomas Gould said there is a local area meeting for the North West and the North East scheduled to take place tomorrow night and that he hoped for “some positive news” from it.

Improved lighting, improved quality of existing CCTV, and additional CCTV are due to be discussed at the meeting.

Underscoring the devastation the recent vandalism has caused people with loved ones buried at Kilcully, Independent candidate in Cork North Central and member of the Kilcully Action Group TJ Hogan said: “People have mentioned on numerous occasions that it’s like burying a loved one all over again.”

It is believed that gardaí are following a definite line of inquiry in relation to the vandalism. The Kilcully Action Group have moved to allay rumours that the incident was a result of a family feud.

Cork City Council were approached for comment. 

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