CITY Council has been urged to consider selling long-unused grave plots and to look at the interment of ashes at its cemeteries.
The local authority manages four cemeteries in the city at St Joseph’s at Tory Top Road; St Finbarr’s at Glasheen, St Michael’s at Blackrock and St Catherine’s at Kilcully.
No plots are currently available at St Finbarr’s and St Joseph’s cemetery. At St Catherine’s and St Michael’s internal plots are priced at €1,830 and external plots €2,030. Plots can be transferred from deceased to living family members.
Councillor Terry Shannon (FF) asked the Council to report to representatives on the number of vacant plots in Council-managed cemeteries and to consider, where ownership of plots cannot be traced, selling the plots on the open market.
A City Hall statement said plots can be unused for up to a century before the first burial takes place in them with owners’ rights passing down through generations.
“Rights of burial in plots are purchased by individuals and formal legal deeds giving a grant of right of burial are issued by the City Council. The grant deed gives exclusive right of burial to the individual, their heirs and successors and assigns in perpetuity for the purpose of burial.
“There is no evidence of an issue with unused plots in any of our cemeteries and it has happened in our older cemeteries both in St Joseph’s and in St Finbarr’s that plots would not be used for over 100 years before initial burials take place."
However, Chris O’Leary (SF) said people are struggling to buy plots and he has experienced this himself.
He believes the Council should look at alternatives to allow people to have their final resting place at their local cemetery.
“There is a huge issue with some plots which are not being utilised. I think there is an opportunity to look at interment and I think it should be done in all graveyards rather than just one. I think we should be progressive enough to see a lot of people are being cremated and would like to be interred at a local cemetery,” he added.