ABBEYFEALE is “running out of time” to find a location for a new burial ground as the current site is coming close to capacity, local councillors have warned.
The need to find a place for the West Limerick town to bury its dead has been flagged for a number of years, but little progress has been made until now due to funding constraints and a lack of available sites.
The issue was raised at a local area meeting of Limerick County Council last week, and Cllr Francis Foley believes that the matter could soon become urgent.
“There’s only short term capacity left in the current burial ground, a year or two at the most, possibly. We’re running out of time”.
Cllr Liam Galvin said that the search for a new graveyard is being hastened by ongoing problems at Abbeyfeale’s existing cemetery, off the St Ita’s Road just outside the town centre.
“The bottom line is, the graveyard that’s there at the moment is totally inappropriate. It’s a bog. There’s red water rising up there. It’s a shame that a graveyard was ever put in there from day one. That’s something we have to deal with now – we’re trying to get funding to drain and look after it”.
Limerick County Council is now seeking expressions of interest from local landowners who feel they may have a suitable site for a new graveyard, provided it meets certain criteria, such as size and drainage.
Funding for a new graveyard site, if identified, would probably have to be sourced from the council’s annual budget, meaning that progress on the matter may be unlikely until 2014 at the earliest.
Cllr Foley said while the search for a new site continues, the local graveyard committee remain tasked with managing issues at the present site.
“The graveyard committee have been working away for a quite a while. We’ve put in for funding to try and get drainage and ongoing maintenance up there. It is very, very wet”.
Cllr Galvin said that the issue has received a “very positive” response from the county council, which appreciates the pressing nature of the matter.
“We’re asking anyone locally who might have a suitable plot to get in touch with the council. In fairness to Limerick County Council, you’d expect them to pay agricultural value for the land. You’d be looking at about four acres, at least”.