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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)

MEA cemetery rules reviewed after wreath removal request

A public consultation over cemetery rules has been launched as part of a review in Mid and East Antrim Borough.

Councillors have been advised the legacy Carrickfergus and Ballymena councils had different rules and regulations and Larne had none. The current guidelines have been in place since autumn 2017.

Concerns were raised last year over a regulation requiring the removal of festive tributes and wreaths after the Christmas period from graves in council-managed cemeteries when a notice appeared at Islandmagee Cemetery.

There will be drop-in sessions, at Larne Market Yard on March 22 and at Carrickfergus Museum and Civic Centre on March 30. A session also took place at Ardeevin, in Ballymena, on March 15.

Clergy, funeral directors and stone masons have already had an opportunity to have their say.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is responsible for 22 cemeteries in the borough.

A report presented to the council’s Direct Services Committee at a meeting last Tuesday evening says that burials can be accommodated for a further 12 years at Greenland Cemetery, in Craigyhill, Larne; 10 years at Victoria Cemetery, Carrickfergus, 11 years at Clough and eight years in Islandmagee.

Councillors were told additional land has been purchased to the rear of Islandmagee Cemetery for an extension.

They also heard the local authority has received approaches from churches in Broughshane to request cemetery provision in the village. A number of landowners has been approached by the council for a potential sale but none has taken place.

Greenland Cemetery has 602 unsold plots; 51 new plots were sold in 2022;  68 in 2021; 49 in 2020 and 31 in 2019.

There are 83 unsold plots in Islandmagee Cemetery; 12 were sold in 2022; nine in 2021; 13 in 2020 and 10 in 2019.

In Ballycarry New Cemetery, there are 216 unsold plots; four were sold in 2022; eight in 2021; nine in 2020 and nine in 2019.

In Glenarm Cemetery, there are 165 unsold plots; seven were sold in 2022; three in 2021; five in 2020 and three in 2019.

At Victoria Cemetery, 629 plots were unsold in 2022; 71 sold in 2022; 70 in 2021; 61 in 2020 and 61 in 2020.

At Ballymena Cemetery (Cushendall Road), 609 plots remain unsold; 37 were sold in 2022; 31 in 2021; 26 in 2020 and 29 in 2019.

In Ballee Cemetery, Ballymena, 2,080 plots are unsold; 43 were sold in 2022; 47 in 2021; 53 in 2020 and 44 in 2019.

There are 1,852 unsold plots in Ahoghill Cemetery; 1,417 in Cullybackey; 737 in Portglenone and 48 in Clough.

There are 192 burial years remaining in Ahoghill Cemetery;  147 years at Cullybackey Cemetery; 47 years at Ballee Cemetery; 37 years at Glenarm Cemetery; 22 at Ballycarry New Cemetery and 21 at Ballymena (Cushendall Road) Cemetery.

Councillors have given the go-ahead for a new £2.1m cemetery at Old Glenarm Road in Larne. The new 15-acre site consists of two fields, opposite 382 Old Glenarm Road on the right side of the road towards Ballygally. It is expected to be able to facilitate almost 4,000 plots with capacity for 25 years.

Tests are currently being carried out at a potential new cemetery site at Trooperslane Road, Carrickfergus.


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