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Ballysheen Graveyard at Sixmilebridge. Photograph by John Kelly.

Silage bales used to block East Clare encampments

A FARMER has had to use silage bales to prevent illegal encampments beside a graveyard in East Clare, in a situation described as “crazy, outrageous, and scandalous”.

At the July meeting of the Killaloe Municipal District, incoming Cathaoirleach Alan O’Callaghan appealed to the Council to put in a long-term solution, saying the problem at Ballysheen Graveyard is an ongoing one. 

“The ground was given to Clare County Council for the graveyard, in order to facilitate parking,” the Kilmurry man outlined.

“Unfortunately, it was being used for other things. A local farmer hat to put bales out. I would not be in agreement with them being taken away, until something long term is actually done in order to stop the issue of illegal encampments.

“When pressure is on in other places, that’s when encampments arrive there. Kerbing might work. We have to remember that the farmer has forfeited several bales of silage.There are a good few there.”

The Fianna Fáil member noted that the graveyard had been in the Shannon Municipal District, until the area boundary changed.

“This has come up before when the area was in the Shannon MD,” Councillor O’Callaghan said. There was talk then of putting in kerbing. Now that it’s in our area, the issue needs to be addressed. Prevention is better than cure.”

Seconding the motion, Councillor Joe Cooney paid tribute to the hard-working local committee.

“It is just awful that a landowner has to come and put out silage bales,” he said. “That day is gone. I want to pay compliment to the farmer who put the bales out. It’s awful that it came to having to put bales out to stop illegal parking. We are all well aware of the situation and it is crazy, outrageous, and scandalous.

“The graveyard committee is working hard. The graveyard is part Clare County Council-owned and part privately owned. I hope we can put something in place for mourners and also those generally using area.”

In a written response, Derek Troy, Acting Senior Executive Engineer said a meeting has taken place between Council staff and representatives of the graveyard committee “to discuss options for improvement of parking on the public road adjacent to the graveyard”.

“It is expected that arrangements will be made by agreement with the landowner to remove the bales that have been in place for a number of years. Killaloe Municipal District intends to undertake maintenance works and mark parking spaces, subject to the availability of funding,” the response concluded.”

Expressing gratitude for the response, Councillor O’Callaghan added: “We have to be able to set this up to avoid illegal encampments.”

About Fiona McGarry

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 or telephone 065 6864146.

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