Many families have expressed their concerns that their deceased loved ones cannot be buried in adjacent graves in council run cemeteries.
Following a the outbreak of the Covid-19 epidemic, Newry Mourne and Down District Council had passed a ruling that no more double plots could be sold as the demand during the epidemic was difficult to calculate.
However, at a Neighbourhood Services committee meeting last night (16th December) of the council, Council officer Kevin Scullion explained that only 15% of people dying are laid to rest in council graveyards while the remainder are committed to church graveyards or are cremated.
He said: “We had to introduce the sale of single plots only when the Covid-19 epidemic outbreak started.
“We have now done an analysis of the figures around plots and found that the 2018 period compared to 2019 shows that there were just nine more burials in council cemeteries, showing a slight increase in demand for burial space which overlaps with the Covid-19 period.
“Therefore, given this information available, it is now time to review the sale of double plots once again and talk to families who have expressed an interest in acquiring a double plot.
Cllr Charlie Casey, in proposing the recommendations be accepted, said he welcomed the report from the council officer adding: “Councillors have been asked to get the double graves made available again.
“But I would add that gravestones will need to be standardised and uniform in size if at all possible.”
Cllr Terry Andrews seconded the report and said: “I am happy to second this report and I know it will mean so much to the families affected.”
Cllr Kathryn Owen said: “I have been contacted a couple of times by people who wanted a second cemetery plot and had a number of emotional conversations. We are now all on the same page on this matter.”