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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)

Mid & East Antrim Council carrying out review of cemetery rules and regulations

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is carrying out a review of cemetery rules and regulations ahead of a consultation next month.

It comes after concerns were raised over a controversial regulation requiring the removal of festive tributes and wreaths after the Christmas period from graves in cemeteries managed by the local authority.

A notice posted in January at Islandmagee Cemetery reminded visitors to remove all Christmas tributes by the end of the month.

Covid procedures are also being reviewed in line with revised regulation and guidance.

A report to the council’s Direct Services Committee this week said:

“Officers have commenced a review of cemetery rules and regulations and a number of omissions were identified in the original document which was first introduced five years ago.”

Coast Road DUP Councillor Andrew Clarke, who welcomed the review previously, commented after the meeting:

He said: “Managing our cemeteries and burials is perhaps the most sensitive task that council performs.

“We are engaging with relatives going through a deeply traumatic process. Regulations must take account of sensitivity, and allow some room for discretion with regard to wreaths. Nothing we do should add to the pain loved ones are going through.”

Meanwhile, the council is continuing investigations into the suitability of a potential new 100-acre cemetery site in Carrickfergus.

The council is examining the requirements for a hydrogeological report at land at Trooperslane Road.

It is expected that this will “further determine suitability” for a new cemetery location in the town.

Councillors have been told previously that “substantial survey work” has now been completed at Trooperslane to establish suitability for burials.

Thirty-six acres were found to be “unsuitable for burial” due to the presence of a gas pipeline and “proximity to nearby water courses”.

Burial capacity at Carrick’s Victoria Cemetery, where there are fewer than 770 graves remaining, is estimated at 12 years.

There were 226 burials in 2020, 220 in 2019, 221 in 2018, 207 in 2017 and  216 in 2016.


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