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The famine memorial cross at the old Shanakyle graveyard in Kilrush. Photograph by John Kelly

Burial ground costs more than double income generated

MORE than twice as much money is being spent on graveyards in Clare, as is being generated by the sale of burial plots, a member of the local authority has been told.

Details of income and expenditure related to the 50 burial grounds in the ownership of the council were given to Councillor Shane Talty in response to a request for details for the last four years.

A written reply from Senior Executive Officer Bernadette Haugh outlined that there are 30 council-owned cemeteries that generate revenue from the sale of plots, and 20 that don’t. Over the period 2016 to 2019, a total of €299,794 was raised through sales of plots which vary in price from €315 for a single plot to €735 for a double, depending on the location. Average annual income runs to €74,000, while an annual average of €162,000 is spent.

Reacting to the figures, Councillor Talty noted that concerned members of the public frequently got in touch about the condition of paths and boundary walls. “A lot falls back on voluntary committees,” he also noted. “CE schemes also do great work and I know of one scheme that looks after nine sites locally. They do invaluable work.” The Fianna Fáil member suggested that a system of shared resources might be put in place. “There might be some merit in sharing an operative who might be tasked with works of a fairly small scale nature. We are dealing with memorials to peoples’ lives and they must be presented in a condition that we can be proud of.”

In its response to Councillor Talty, the council’s response also acknowledged the work of local communities in maintaining burial grounds around the county.

About Fiona McGarry

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Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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