Undertaker calls for planning with farmers on cemetery land

Advance negotiations with farmers rather than compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) is the way to go when it comes to acquiring additional cemetery land, according to Tuam-based undertaker, Joe Grogan.

While calls have been made for CPOs to be used for graveyards amid claims that farmers are hiking land prices, he called for local authorities to think ahead and discuss the purchase of land with farmers. The discussion is taking place at a time when many graveyards around the country are running out of space.

Rather than opting for CPOs, Joe contended that councils should sit down with farmers and put proposals to them.

“The issue has come up around Galway. Oranmore and Claregalway are satellite towns of Galway city. A lot of people have moved into those areas over the last 30 years,” Joe said.

Cemeteries that date back to the 1950s are filling up and the farmer next door is being approached. To me, they are entitled to get a fair value for their land as ultimately money will be made on it.

“My solution to the problem would be to approach the farmer to sell, say 5ac, and let the farmer use the land until it is required, with a contract drawn up. I don’t think CPOs are fair on farmers. Generations could have farmed the land in question and I don’t think it’s fair to go in and walk all over them.

“In smaller graveyards, a bit of foresight would help. Councils should be thinking 20 years ahead rather than stopgap solutions.”

’11th hour for burial space’

Last year, it was reported that a cemetery for all denominations – and for none – had opened in Killarney at what was’ the 11th hour’ for burial space in the Co. Kerry town, after a CPO.

The opening of the graveyard at Knockeenduff came as undertakers said that the town’s public graveyards were completely lacking space for new burials.

The 5ac site, on farmland 4km outside the town, off the N22, was acquired by CPO the previous year, it was reported in The Irish Times. There had been objections to the plans by residents, and an oral hearing into the CPO.