Vehicles will no longer be allowed to drive into St. Cormac’s cemetery in Cashel after widespread complaints of intimidation were voiced by members of the local Town Council at their meeting on Monday night.
“Enough is enough”, said Cllr. Eoghan Lawrence, who described the situation as “terrible”. It was intimidating and upsetting for those who had loved ones buried in the cemetery to see how the place had been desecrated by those who were driving into the graveyard. He said it was disgraceful for older people especially to see such a lack of respect and he proposed that the gates would be locked so that vehicles couldn’t enter.
Cllr. Sean McCarthy had originally requested that the cemetery would be closed to vehicles at night, but he agreed to Cllr. Lawrence’s request that no vehicles would be permitted there at any time.
Cllr. McCarthy said there was a lot of disquiet about the illicit activity that was committed by people who were driving in and out in cars.
He was also critical of some “grotesque type of monuments” that had been erected over graves, and which were in breach of the regulations.
It was high time that a stand was taken, said Cllr. Joe Moloney. They spoke about this for the last number of years and St. Cormac’s was probably the only graveyard in the country that was left open at night. For the Council’s own protection and the protection of the cemetery the big gates should be locked.
Cllr. Eddie Bennett said they had been preaching about this for years and now they had to do something.
They had swept this under the carpet for a long time but the situation would get worse and become more serious unless they took a stand and closed the gates, said Cllr. Dan Dillon. He said that those involved had no respect for property.
The County Council had promised a major report into how the graveyards should be operated, and he wondered why it had taken so long in this day and age to come up with a set of proposals. Unless you had proper by-laws that could be enforced then you could throw your hat at it.
Cllr. Dillon said people were afraid to go into the cemetery and it was turning into a most gaudy place. It was about time that some respect was instilled in these people to have it restored as a place of reverence.
It was also time that the Council grasped the nettle, stopped shilly-shallying about and put a lock on the gates.
Cllr. PJ Quinlan said they needed to have some idea of what was acceptable on a grave. He understood that €25,000 was spent on one grave alone and some of these headstones were like monuments.
Cllr. Martin Browne agreed that the cemetery was becoming a bit of an eyesore, and it wasn’t nice for people to have family members buried beside “statues” that were taller than he was.
This took away from people paying their respects at graves. Graveyards should be tranquil settings and families should feel comfortable there and not intimidated, he stated.
Town Clerk Marie McGivern said that a committee set up at County Council level had reported very recently on its final set of by-laws for cemeteries and these would be brought before the September meeting for the members to adopt them.
Pedestrian and wheelchair access will remain open, while it was agreed that the graveyard will only be open to vehicles during funerals.