LIMERICK City Council has rowed back on plans to take ownership of gravestones which have fallen into disrepair.
Instead, the council will clean up the plots around graves and the headstones themselves, with the bill for these works going to the plot owner.
But crucially, grave plots will remain in the ownership of city families.
There was anger in the council chamber when the draft cemetery bye-laws were originally proposed.
But councillors were last night expected to approve the new plans.
“The council will carry out repair work to a grave if needs be. They will first publish a notice in the newspaper confirming they seek to do so. If the owner comes forward in future looking for the burial of a relative, they will have to compensate the council for the cost of cleaning. But we would be talking about nominal figures here,” confirmed Labour’s southside councillor Joe Leddin.
He wants to see a special fund set up for the maintenance of gravestones.
Sinn Fein’s northside councillor Maurice Quinlivan also welcomed the amended proposal: “A number of people who live abroad were especially concerned that their family grave may have been reprocessed by City Council. Some people who live abroad have plans to be buried in family graves many of which could have reverted to the City Council under the initial proposed bye laws.”
He continued: “I am pleased that the Council has listened to us and found a middle ground which both protects the interests of relatives and also addresses any legitimate health and safety concerns. It is now welcome that city will where necessary carry out any repairs to graves required where there is a health and safety issue and where owners cannot be contacted. The council will not seek to take ownership of any of these graves. The new revised bye laws which drop the proposal for the council in some cases to take ownership of graves are very welcome.”