A group of Clonmel residents campaigning to stop an upcoming ban on cars from the town's St Patrick's Cemetery, have vowed to continue the daily protests they have staged at the Co. Council's headquarters since last Friday.
The Friends and Families of St Patrick's Cemetery Group met with Clonmel Borough District Administrator Anthony Coleman and Mayor of Clonmel Cllr Richie Molloy last Thursday and voiced their concerns about the Council's plans to close the cemetery to vehicles.
The Group handed over to the Council, a petition signed by about 4,000 people opposing the erection of barriers at the cemetery to prevent cars from entering. The Group says more names have been collected over the past few days.
The Group's two-hour long morning protests outside the Co. Council's Civic Offices began the following day and resumed on Monday.
Their main grievance is that banning cars from the cemetery will make it difficult for people with poor mobility to visit the graves of their loved ones.
Tipperary Co. Council says it is planning to erect the barriers to stop cars because it says the current unrestricted access to vehicles is unsustainable. It says the increasing volume of traffic in the cemetery is causing repeated damage to grave kerbs, which is upsetting to families and impacting on people who wish to visit graves in a quiet and peaceful environment.
The Council is currently constructing a new 60-space car park with 10 disabled parking spaces at the Cemetery to improve the public's access. It's due to be completed by the end of this month.
The Friends and Families of St Patrick's Cemetery Group says it has no objection to the car park but it won't solve the access difficulties for people with disabilities and the infirm.
Elderly wheelchair user Paddy Costin from College Avenue in Clonmel took part in Monday's demonstration outside the Council's Civic Offices as county councillors gathered inside for their monthly meeting.
He regularly visits St Patrick's Cemetery to visit the graves of his wife Bridget and his grandson Christopher O'Mahony. "I had a big operation on my spine in January. I have sticks that I use to to walk with but if I had to walk from the car park I would never get there. There is no way I can go into the cemetery without the car."
Read the experiences of other residents who have family graves in St Patrick’s Cemetery and are campaigning to keep it open to cars in this week’s printed edition of The Nationalist in shops today.