Council order to reduce grave leaves family devastated

by Padraig Conlon

A local woman ordered to reduce the size of her father’s grave says South Dublin County Council has left her distraught.

Lisa Marie Healy, whose late father David Murray is buried in Esker Cemetery in Lucan, received a registered letter from South Dublin County Council two weeks ago calling for the grave to be rearranged.

The letter stated that “the surround on your plot is not in line with the markings for the plot, and is encroaching on other plots, we respectfully request you to have this matter urgently addressed and that future burials in the adjoining plots are compromised unless and until this encroachment is corrected.”

Lisa, from Clondalkin but currently living in Dunboyne said:

“My father died in 2012 by suicide at only 42 years of age and this has deeply upset our entire family.

“When we came up to the grave, we saw yellow marks spray painted around the grave. We asked the man from the council what they meant. He explained that the grave was too wide and it represented the amount the grave was extended by.

“We were never told about any regulations when we bought the grave six years ago and we don’t know why it’s only coming to light now. Had we known at the time, it would have all been so different.”

Lisa, her two sisters and aunt were then supervised by a man from the council as they went about the emotional task of rearranging their father’s grave as per the council’s letter.

“We thought it was not right, it was intimidating having a man stand over us while we four women worked on the grave.

“Eventually the council man said it was too heart breaking watching us so he walked away and left us to it.”

Lisa says she and her entire family are devastated by the council’s actions.

“We now have no headstone on the grave, and we just put a neat surround around it [the grave].

“There are graves there that are much bigger than my father’s.

“The council will not comment or engage with us at all, we can’t understand why they are being like this.

“All I want is for the council to help us put it back together.

“My father’s grave now looks like a little building site, it doesn’t look like a resting place anymore. I’m distraught, it’s horrendous.

“Is it too much for them just to help restore the grave? Surely they can do something to help us?”

In response to questions from Dublin Gazette the council said in a statement: “South Dublin County Council is responsible for the management of a number of cemeteries within its administrative area including Esker Cemetery.

The Rules & Regulations to Regulate Burial Grounds are under the Public Health Act 1878 & subsequent amendments. South Dublin County Council is obliged to comply with the regulations.

Sculptors/plot holders who fail to comply with the Regulations are afforded an opportunity to recitify the situation, however as future burials in the adjoining plots are comprised as a result, and given that all matters relating to burial grounds are very sensitive, the council has protocols and procedures in place to ensure that this service is managed and maintained to the standard befitting the memory of all those loved ones buried in the council’s cemeteries.”

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