CITY Hall has been told to immediately clear up an overgrown graveyard in Douglas if it really “means business” in delivering services in new city areas.
Douglas Cemetery was one of nine resting places formerly under County Hall jurisdiction that were subsumed into the city as part of a boundary expansion following May’s local elections.
The cost of buying plots immediately skyrocketed from between €455 and €1,000 in these cemeteries following City Hall taking control but pictures have emerged of grass growing so high it is obscuring gravestones and rubbish strewn at an entrance point.
It is understood the caretaker retired before the local elections and is yet to be replaced.
Stephen Scully of Cork City Council’s environment and recreation department said the cemetery was in a condition of overgrowth when the local authority took it over and contractors are on site carrying out work to tackle the issues.
“We took over the cemetery on May 31 and we’ve had a contractor doing preliminary work at the entrance and the main pathways and in the next two weeks, there will be a considerable difference,” Mr Scully said.
“We are getting a crew in today to do more maintenance but it is slow because it has to be hand strimmed as it can’t be cut by a lawnmower. It will take time but it is all in hand and this is the condition in which it was taken over. It’s slow work and time consuming, but it will be done,” Mr Scully added.
Local councillor Deirdre Forde (FG) has urged the council to appoint a caretaker as soon as possible and cut the grass immediately to prevent the overgrowth from taking hold and needing chemical treatment.
“Quite a few people have contacted me about this and I have contacted our local city council area committee,” Ms Forde told The Echo.
“They have sent a guy in to strim the grass but it’s nowhere near what is acceptable. The graveyard is right in the centre of Douglas and the overgrowth makes people feel terrible. A lot of people visit their loved ones’ graves and take great interest in them and the city council has promised to put more resources in.
“The grass is so high that they’d want to tackle it immediately or it will be too high to cut and it will have to be treated instead. We are pressing City Hall for the appointment of a caretaker to maintain the cemetery. It is now part of the city council and sorting this would send out the message that City Hall means business in its new areas,” Ms Forde added.