City Hall doesn't have the budget to keep security at vandalised Kilcully graveyard

City Hall doesn't have the budget to keep security at vandalised Kilcully graveyard
Vandalism damage to headstones/Graves, at St. Catherine's Cemetery, Kilcully, Co. Cork.Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Cork City Council “exceed their duty of care” to those who have burial plots in St Catherine’s cemetery, Kilcully, but have admitted they “don’t have the budget” to continue paying €6,500 a week for security.

That’s according to City Hall Director Valerie O’Sullivan who said they would pay for another week of 24/7 security “and see”.

Security was hired after devastating vandalism earlier this month during which headstones and statues were broken and ornaments destroyed.

Ms O'Sullivan said the council was available to meet with families regarding the recent vandalism there.

Vandalism to a statue at St. Catherine's Cemetery, Kilcully, Co. Cork.Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Vandalism to a statue at St. Catherine's Cemetery, Kilcully, Co. Cork.Picture: Jim Coughlan.

She was responding to a number of questions posed following last weekend's public meeting involving councillors and families of those buried in Kilcully.

Dozens of people voiced their frustration in the public gallery of tonight's City Council meeting when the Director suggested that anti-social behavior is “not a major issue” at the cemetery.

Ms O’Sullivan also said that it’s inaccurate to say the cemetery is inadequately staffed and said with the agreement of boundary landowners they can explore the possibility of securing the cemetery site. However, it could cost €200,000, which isn’t in the budget currently.

The families agreed the Garda investigation that’s underway should take its course, however, they wanted answers on a number of issues from the council.

Cllr Tony Fitzgerald said that given the “nature and sensitivity of the matter” the Chief Executive should meet representatives from the families.

Cllr Thomas Gould called for the council to respond to the vandalism by installing CCTV, sensors and adequate lighting at the cemetery. 

He and a number of other councillors committed to donating €500 from their ward funds to the restoration fund set up to fix the headstones that were destroyed. 

Cllr Ken O’Flynn said the council has a duty of care because of the “shock to the people of Cork.” 

Cllr Fiona Ryan said: “It’s not just a matter of replacing headstones, it’s a fear of what could happen in the future.”

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