By PÁRAIC MCMAHON
COLUMBARIUM walls are “necessary and needed” to deal with the increasing demand for cremations in Clare.
A columbarium is a place for the respectful and usually public storage of cinerary urns which hold remains of the deceased. One columbarium wall already exists in Clare which consists of 462 niches into which the ashes of a loved one can be interred at the Shannon Crematorium.
Members of the Rural Development SPC were briefed on a draft policy regarding the walls at their September meeting. “To our knowledge cremation is becoming more and more a requirement,” Senior Executive Officer Monica Meehan outlined.
The policy mentions provision of columbarium walls in each municipal are with Ennis, Shannon, Scariff, Ennistymon, Kilrush and Killaloe listed as possible locations.
“We did something right by letting that planning happen”, Cllr Mary Howard said of the €2.4m facility at Shannon which was opened in 2017 after a nine-year planning process. “Columbarium walls are the way to go to cater for all religions and nationalities”.
Independent councillor, Michael Begley was cautious at the amount of construction needed in one year if the walls were to be installed at graveyards all over Clare. Ms Meehan acknowledged, “What we see is cremations are happening. Traditional burials are used by my generation and the generation after me.” She highlighted that the shortage of grave plots could become an issue.
SPC member, Patrick Kwara questioned the approved access aspect of Columbarium walls. Chairperson of the SPC, Cllr Pat Hayes replied, “Families don’t have a key to it, otherwise you could be storing your bank balance there”.
Kwara queried if access worked the same everywhere, Meehan stated she would provide further clarity for him.