Local funeral directors call for end to policy of lawned graves at St Patrick’s Cemetery
A local funeral directors has called for an end to the policy of lawned graves at St Patrick’s Cemetery in Dowdallshill.
Gerard and Annette Quinn of Quinn’s Funeral Home in Bridge Street have penned a letter to the media in the wake of Sunday’s Blessing of the Graves ceremony.
While they praised everything but the weather, the pair insist that the lawned graves section which was introduced 26 years ago hasn’t worked.
They have now called for a change in policy and for people to have their say on the matter.
Their letter, sent to Talk of the Town in the wake of Sunday’s patrun, reads as follows: “Well, we had excellent sound quality, sadly not the weather. We’re never going to have everything perfect at the annual gathering of the clans at St. Patrick’s Cemetery.
“The sound quality is a testament to the expertise of local sound company Audiocomm. The graves were carefully prepared by families honouring their departed loved ones. The cemetery staff’s diligent work in maintaining this sacred space was there for all to see and appreciate. The local clergy performed a meaningful ceremony. There seemed just one bone of contention that we were universally approached about.
“We have to admit that the lawned graves sections, with no kerbs identifying the grave space, hasn’t worked in this cemetery. Indeed, it hasn’t worked in almost every large cemetery. There were reasons for its introduction 26 years ago- ease of access for mechanical excavators, removal of kerbs as trip hazards, uniformity of surface, maintenance in future years. These concerns have been rendered irrelevant. New mini and micro excavators can reach any grave in the new format, even if it were kerbed. The trip hazard is now due to uneven ground where natural settlement of the disturbed soil is a constant challenge for the staff to address. The surface is a hotch potch of turf, peat moss, artificial grass and loose chippings. With burials continuing in these sections for well over a hundred years to come, there will never be a uniformity of surface and ease of maintenance for the exact same number of staff the cemetery had when it was less than half its present area.
“We don’t have a memorial company. We don’t see financial gain with the reintroduction of kerbs. This will be a decision individual families will make and will budget accordingly for. But speaking to families purchasing graves, maintaining graves, trying to protect their graves from being driven on, we have yet to meet anyone satisfied with the present regulation. Sometimes, we as a community have to admit when something isn’t working and address the wishes of families. The lawned cemetery hasn’t worked and will not improve. Its time to let people have their say.”