Future Cemetery Provision needs new Strategy and Legislation
A planning application
for a new private cemetery and crematorium in Balgriffin raised a number of
issues for the Dublin region that need addressing according to local Labour
Councillor Peter Coyle. "The construction of cemeteries should not be
the business of speculators or short term profiteering", according to
The planning application was made on behalf of Ulster Bank on lands in receivership. The site was in St Doolagh's Park in the grounds adjacent to St Doolagh's nursing home, and immediately north of the council run Fingal Cemetery. The proposed entrance was to be opposite to the historical St Dolough's Church. The application sought permission for approximately 3000 plots in a burial ground, a crematorium, and a Remembrance Garden. Fingal County Council refused Planning Permission. However a number of issues need to be addressed by the Council, including new strategies for the management of cemeteries, and environmental legislation for the operation of crematoriums.
Regulations issued by the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local
Government to each local authority govern the siting and specifications of
burial grounds. Local authorities manage a number of graveyards. Traditionally
a number are under Church control. Glasnevin
Trust is the largest provider of funeral services in Ireland serving 2,500
burials and 1,300 cremations annually. The Trust is run by an executive
management team and governed by the Dublin Cemeteries Committee, a voluntary
not-for-profit body originally established by Daniel O’Connell in 1828. The
Committee was subsequently re-established under the Dublin Cemeteries Committee
Acts of 1846 and 1970.
The Trust’s mission today remains as it was handed down from Daniel O’Connell; “to bury people of all religions and none”
It operates five cemeteries (Dardistown, Glasnevin, Goldenbridge, Newlands Cross and Palmerstown) and two crematoria (Glasnevin and Newlands Cross). Goldenbridge and Glasnevin Cemeteries were in existence when the Act of 1846 was passed. The enactment of the Act of 1970 enabled the establishment of the cemeteries at Palmerstown, Dardistown and Newlands Cross.
Cllr Peter Coyle believes that new legislation needs to be enacted to control future cemeteries and not leave it in the hands of speculators. Many graveyards in Dublin have reached or are nearing full capacity, and there is a necessity to provide extra burial grounds. However they do have to be “managed and maintained in a manner that respects their associated heritage and culture”. This management must have a long-term perspective. While cemeteries can generate a lot of profit, the revenue tends to be front-loaded. As the cemetery fills up, the source of income disappears. The question of maintenance then becomes a major issue for the speculator.
Cllr Peter Coyle intends to have the development of cemeteries in the Dublin Region considered by the Dublin Regional Authority and recommendations made for changes in national legislation, if necessary. “Sustainable management of cemeteries in the future is required and not profiteering on burial grounds”, according to Cllr Coyle.