Cost of dying soars following city boundary expansion 

Cost of dying soars following city boundary expansion 
St Finbarr's Cemetery on the Glasheen Road, Cork. 

THE cost of graves in nine cemeteries in Cork skyrocketed overnight as a result of the extension of the city boundary.

Families will now be hit with hikes of between €455 and almost €1,000 for a plot.

The new costs were introduced with immediate effect, to cemeteries previously in Cork county but now come under the control of City Hall. The city boundary was expanded in recent days to include Ballincollig, Blarney, Glanmire, and Douglas.

The cost of plots in nine cemeteries, formerly in the county, have now been increased to €1,830, bringing them in line with city prices at St Finbarr’s in Glasheen, St Catherine’s in Kilcully and St Michael’s in Blackrock.

The nine additional cemeteries now within the new city boundary are: Chetwynd; St Oliver’s new and old cemetery in Ballincollig; Curraghkippane new and old cemetery on Lee Road; Carrigrohane Beg; Inniscarra (Dripsey); St Senan’s in Tower, Kilcully old cemetery; Rathcooney, and Douglas.

The cost of purchasing a plot in Tower has rocketed from €1,180 to €1,830.

The cost of gravediggers has also risen from €250 to €730 for any of the cemeteries which don’t have contractors already in place.

Rathcooney falls under this category and burials in this cemetery will see an increase of €480 for gravediggers as well as the increase for plot purchase, from €1,385 to €1,820. This is a total increase of €915.

Undertakers received letters from Cork City Council notifying them of the new costs. The letter was dated May 29, two days before the extension of Cork city came into effect.

One undertaker, Michael Crowley from Ballincollig, said the price increase for burial plots came as a total surprise.

He said: “It was never envisaged that this would happen. It was something that had not even entered my head.”

Two of Cork’s new city councillors, who were previously on Cork County Council, have expressed horror at the decision.

Cllr Derry Canty, from Ballincollig, said that the new councillors joining the city council as a result of the boundary extension “did not expect this to happen”.

He said he will be demanding answers this week from City Hall.

He added: “I will be trying to get an explanation. I believe it was wrong. What else will the council do that we don’t know about?”

The letter also notified undertakers that all plots will have to be purchased through undertakers, as was already the case with existing city council-owned cemeteries.

Only one plot can be purchased at a time, and the letter to undertakers also said: “Immediate burial only will be permitted.”

This means that purchasing plots in advance cannot be done.

Cllr Canty said this measure is also an area of concern, as families will not have the option of purchasing a number of plots beside each other.

His Fine Gael party colleague, Cllr Deirdre Forde, from Douglas, said she was shocked when she heard about the letter received by the undertakers because the transition of the new boundary was only just taking place.

She elaborated: “There was no word of warning. Who sanctioned this? Was it an executive or a council decision?”

“It will place real hardship on people. It is not a very good start to the whole process.”

She said she will also be raising it with the executive of Cork City Council.

Senator Jerry Buttimer said: “I have stressed the need to get the boundary extension in Cork right but it appears Cork City Council is already increasing the cost of dying.”

A spokesman for Cork City Council’s environment and recreation department said: “We are bringing all the cemetery prices into line with each other. We are also going to be increasing our maintenance of cemeteries — we will be increasing and improving them.”

He said the increase in plot charges will be used in the maintenance of the cemeteries, a move which he added would be welcomed by families.

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