CITY Hall has been urged to immediately reverse cost increases on the purchase and opening of graves in cemeteries that became part of the city following last week’s boundary extension.
Hikes in the prices of graves on cemeteries range from €455 to almost €1,000.
The new city cemeteries include 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 gravediggers has also risen from €250 to €730 for any of the cemeteries which don’t have contractors already in place.
Senator Jerry Buttimer has described the increases as “exorbitant, unjustified and unwarranted” and has said new city citizens will see this as a “breach of trust” from their new local authority.
“First and foremost, this needs to be reversed. Secondly, I believe it’s a very inauspicious start by the City Council in the managing of the newly extended city,” he told The Echo.
“The city manager needs to explain and also reverse the decision. I do believe it’s a breach of trust. From my understanding, this wasn’t flagged at council meetings prior to the decision and certainly, the council didn’t have any vote on this particular proposal.
“It’s incumbent now on City Hall to reverse this decision. It sends the wrong message and it starts the life of the new Cork city in a very poor manner.
“City management now needs to explain and reverse this decision because it makes no sense to see the escalating cost of graves. If it’s for revenue-raising, then it’s a cynical attempt by City Hall when there is no need to do so. The costs are exorbitant, unjustified and unwarranted,” he added.
Undertakers were made aware of the new regime on May 29, two days before the extension of Cork city came into effect. They were also told that plots must be bought directly from undertakers and only one can be purchased at a time.
No plots can be purchased in advance of death.
Advocate for the elderly Paddy O’Brien said this will cause huge distress to many people.
“I don’t see the reason for this. People have been buying graves for years and people often buy plots next to each other. People pick a grave for many, many reasons and that has been a tradition for a long time. This causes great distress for people,” he said.
“Many people often have one last wish and that is to be buried in a certain place. They will now have no control over where they are buried.”