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Distraught families say loved ones are ‘forgotten’ due to layout of Drumcliffe Cemetery

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*Photograph: John Mangan

Families are “distraught” with the layout of Drumcliffe Cemetery stating that their loved ones are “forgotten about and left out” as a result of its design.

An improved layout of the Ennis cemetery was sought by Cllr Mark Nestor (FF) at the June meeting of the Ennis Municipal District. “There is a row of trees acting as a barrier” between section B and E at present, he said. The commencement of works would provide “greater visibility and connectivity” between the old and parts of the graveyard, Nestor felt.

In a written response, acting senior executive officer within the Rural Directorate of Clare County Council, Bernie Haugh stated that the 100m of mature trees provide “a natural shelter” and “serve to mark the different approaches” taken to the cemetery’s provision. Tree pruning will be arranged to improve “the visual appearance”.

Before addressing the meeting, Cllr Nestor acknowledged that it was “a very sensitive issue” and one in which he was determined to discuss with “great sensitivity and respect”. During a visit to the cemetery, he was approached by people who he described as “distraught”, “they said their loved ones were buried in the new section, they feel as if they have been forgotten and left out”.

Unless individuals had a reason to go to the new section, they wouldn’t know what is up there, he added, “they have been forgotten about”. The youngest elected representative in the county equated the new section to “a piece outside the boundary for people that committed suicide” in the Irish film, The Field. “We need to go a step further than working on the trees, sections of the barrier need to be taken away. The most important thing that we have throughout our whole graveyard is connectivity and that nobody is forgotten about or left out”.

“These trees are a barrier, they are putting the whole area into shade, it is very dark up there and it does feel separate,” Cllr Mary Howard (FG) commented. “People are quite sensitive about that new area, it is not very welcoming and it is very dark,” she added. A “true layout” is required, Cllr Pat Daly (FF) believed. “It is important that loved ones have the right access to their family graves”.

Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF) referenced retired councillor James Breen’s efforts in consistently highlighting the cemetery at Ennis MD meetings and agreed with the powerful image described by Cllr Nestor. She encouraged the Executive of the MD to improve the layout.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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