Council buries plan for private graveyard in Limerick

Mike Dwane

Reporter:

Mike Dwane

LIMERICK County Council has refused permission to developer Noel Clohessy for a cemetery with over 900 plots on a one-hectare site at Killonan, Castletroy.

LIMERICK County Council has refused permission to developer Noel Clohessy for a cemetery with over 900 plots on a one-hectare site at Killonan, Castletroy.

Over 20 local residents opposed to the plan expressed their concern over long-term maintenance of the cemetery once the plots were sold off and questioned the business model for what was described as the “relatively new phenomenon” of privately developed graveyards.

Consultants for the CHOD Partnership - which lodged the plans in December - said the need for a burial ground in the Castletroy/Monaleen/Annacotty area was recognised in the county development plan, with Kilmurry graveyard “at or close to capacity”. They argued a decision in their favour would also reduce traffic crossing the city for funerals in Mungret.

But the proposals attracted objections from residents who live along the narrow rural road in Killonan known as Woodland Grove.

Among them were the occupants of three houses behind whose dwellings curves the L-shaped site on which the proposed graveyard and 100 car parking spaces would be developed. HRA planning consultants, on behalf of the householders, maintained that Mr Clohessy had sold them sites with road frontage on which they subsequently built and was now seeking to “wrap around” a graveyard.

HRA also lodged an objection on behalf of 25 local residents in which concern was expressed about the proposed business model.

“While traditionally burial grounds have been a service provided to the community by the local authority or the local church, increasingly applications are being made for the development of graveyards as a commercial venture,” they stated.

“The phenomenon of ‘private’ burial grounds is relatively new and little thought has been given to their future and ongoing maintenance.”

“This situation is exacerbated by the fact that the operation of a burial ground in its formative years is cash-rich as plots are sold. However, as assets are disposed of, there is little income generated to facilitate ongoing maintenance and upkeep of the site.”

Limerick County Council refused permission on grounds it would damage residential amenity and property values in the area; over the potential risk to public health from graveyard effluent and on traffic safety issues.

Limerick undertakers have in recent years expressed concern that cemeteries around the city are fast running out of plots, although Limerick City Council last month approved 800 additional spaces at a new extension to its graveyard at Mount St Lawrence.

City funeral director John Thompson told the Limerick leader that the plan by Limerick City Council to provide additional plots in the new extension to Mount St Lawrence’s cemetery should “go at least some way towards alleviating the pressure”.