The County Council has abandoned plans to prevent people from driving into St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Clonmel.
Under new proposals for the town’s main graveyard the Council wanted to ban private vehicles and restrict access to hearses and vehicles operated by Council staff and those erecting headstones.
The new measure was due to be implemented from last Monday.
However, following strong opposition and a series of meetings in the last few weeks between Council members and officials and objectors, the Council has had a change of heart.
“Following a review of the matter by the members it has been agreed that the existing arrangements for vehicular access to St. Patrick’s Cemetery will remain in place”, the Council’s District Administrator Michael O’Brien stated this week.
He added that it was never the Council’s intention to close the graveyard, and the gates will remain open at all times.
The decision to allow cars to continue to have access to the cemetery has been widely welcomed. Campaigners had claimed that many disabled, elderly and infirm people would no longer have been able to visit the graves of their loved ones if the proposal was implemented.
Clonmelmen John Casey and Derek Hogan, who led the campaign of opposition, have welcomed the decision.
“We just want to continue to be allowed to grieve in our own way at the cemetery”, said John Casey. “I know people who drive down there at 2 o’clock in the morning to visit the graves of their loved ones and they feel better after it”, he said.
Mr. Casey and Mr. Hogan said they were very grateful to the Council’s District Engineer Jonathan Cooney for listening to their concerns.
They also expressed their gratitude to the Council members and everyone who had supported them.
“The support we received was unbelieveable”, said Mr. Casey.