*Photograph: Noel Moore
Works on an ‘urgently required extension’ at Illaunamanagh Graveyard in Shannon Town will not commence until March 2020.
Cllr Gerry Flynn asked that the planning section of Clare County Council “proceed to a Part 8 Planning process as soon as possible due to the urgency of the required extension to Illaunamanagh Graveyard in Shannon Town”.
Speaking at the November meeting of the Shannon Municipal District, Cllr Flynn stated 970 residents in the town had died since 2000 with 79 so far this year. “I don’t want the situation to be happening where a person was buried in Newmarket-on-Fergus despite wishing to be buried in Shannon”.
An official response from Colette Costelloe of the Council’s Rural and Community Department highlighted that a time frame had to be revised. “It has since come to our attention that a variation to the existing town plan, is required, to amend the zoning on this site in order to facilitate the extension of the burial ground”.
As part of this, May 2019 will see the completion of the variation process, September 2019 for the Part 8 process, the tender process will be completed and a contractor will be appointed in November 2019 with works scheduled to begin in March 2020.
“It is with some shock and dismay that I got this response from the Council. I felt everything was in order from our discussions and we’re now told the Council are looking for a variation. This is an unfortunate thing as it can take several months, I am now seeking a meeting with the CEO and Head of Planning. Time isn’t on our side and variation is the wrong approach. The response if a bolt out of the blue, I’m not accepting it and I will take the case forward”, Cllr Flynn remarked, he was seconded by Cllr Mike McKee.
Council Director, Liam Conneally told the meeting, “The last thing we need to do is lodge a Part 8 application. The approach from the planning department seems to be bolt and braces”. He added that he had “thought there was significant longitude” given.
Independent Cllr PJ Ryan reiterated calls from Cllr Flynn that the dead have their wishes carried out, “We wouldn’t want to see anyone who wants to be buried at Illaunamanagh not buried there”. Cllr Flynn added, “It is a life and death situation”.
Meanwhile, allotment holders in Shannon are to meet with officials from the local authority over the concern over a lack of burial places. Briefing elected members of the Shannon Municipal District, Carmel Greene, a Senior Executive Officer within the local authority restated their commitment of the allotment as a project. Allotment holders will remain in the location of Illaunmanagh until 2019, “it gives a longer time to vacate” she said, such individuals will be requested to attend a meeting with representatives of the Council.