An up-to-date count on the number of grave plots available in the cemeteries managed by Kilkenny County Council is due to be carried out by the end of this year, but there is not expected to be any shortage of space to go around.
As of the most recent count in 2006, there were 8,941 spaces remaining – and there were only 72 plot sales that year, according to the council. These plots are in addition to those in cemeteries not managed by the council.
Of the 300 burial grounds in the county, approximately 150 are vested in Kilkenny County Council and 70 of those are classed as officially closed. There are spaces for sale in 14 of the graveyards, 13 of which are operated by the council and one by the parish in Kilmacow. Still others are operated by church bodies, the Office of Public Works (OPW) or local groups.
As the information was presented at a meeting of the council’s environment committee, Cllr Mary Hilda Cavanagh (FG) asked whether anything could be done to stop rubbish being dumped, in one graveyard in particular. “It is like a tip,” she said, with rubble and clay left over from when gravestone are erected being tossed into one corner. There are “several lorry-loads of stuff that have to be carried away,” she pointed out.
“The other issue is plastic flowers,” which begin to rot not long after being placed at a grave. “Then someone comes along to clean the grave and dumps the flowers in the corner too.”
“We should have respect for the people who have gone before us,” Cllr Cavanagh said.