Councillor Eddie Ryan expressed concerns over the condition of some graveyards in Limerick | PICTURE: Adrian Butler
LIMERICK City and County Council has warned there are almost 40 burial ground structures in need of attention to arrest their decline.
Director of service for planning, placemaking and environment Nuala Gallagher told members at the July meeting of the council that a survey carried out as part of its burial ground strategy identified nine structures in need of urgent attention, and a further 27 classed as fairly urgent.
The local authority’s blueprint recommends that a programme of detailed condition surveying, vegetation control and consolidation needs to be established across the county.
“This will require a significant stream of funding for a period of years. Larger projects may be multi-annual, but there could be capacity to bundle smaller projects and address them within one financial year,” she said.
It came as Independent councillor Eddie Ryan saw a motion passed calling on the council to increase the operation and maintenance budget for cemeteries to €100,000-per-year to provide adequate repair and maintenance.
He said: “The local authority has a responsibility for burial grounds. Previously, the council funded the main part of the conservation costs with matched funding from department grants. This could be the sum of €40,000 per annum. In recent years, this dedicated sum has been reduced to €15,000 which does not have the potential to advance a scheme, but only to top up on a successful grant application.”
Councillor Ryan agreed there is an urgent need to tackle these structures from a health-and-safety point of view.
“The churches, we can’t touch them, knock them. But they have stones falling off them. It needs to be funded, and €15,000 is not cutting it. €100,000 is a minimum, and that’s without the regular maintenance budgets for this or ancient structures,” he said.
The motion was seconded by fellow Independent councillor Jerome Scanlan.
In a written response, Ms Gallagher said the council needs to be provided with matched funding to start a programme of works which would deal with the most urgent issues arising from graveyards more quickly.
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