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Kerry woman's body exhumed and reburied after being buried in wrong grave following mix-up

Kerry County Council has issued formal apologies to both families involved.

The mix-up occurred in Listowel’s main cemetery. (File photo)
The mix-up occurred in Listowel’s main cemetery. (File photo)
Image: Shutterstock

Updated Jan 27th 2020, 4:53 PM

AN APPARENT ERROR by a council has led to a woman being buried in the wrong plot alongside another woman who died early last year in Listowel’s main cemetery.

The woman has been exhumed.

A person close to both families and familiar with the mix-up said the families have been left deeply hurt by the way the matter was dealt with by the county council.

Radio Kerry has reported that Kerry County Council had carried out an exhumation and reburial of remains at St John Paul II cemetery in Listowel.

The cemetery in Listowel was closed to the public on Friday morning while the exhumation and reburial took place.

Officials from the council as well as environmental health officers from the HSE were present as required by legislation.

The legislation governing exhumations in Ireland set out in Section 46 of the Local Government Sanitary Services Act 1948 and the Second Schedule of the Local Government Act, 1994.

Grave plots are sold only when a death has taken place and it is understood that last March three plots were bought by a family on the death of a woman in her sixties.

However, over a fortnight ago when the husband of the deceased woman arrived to visit the grave of his loved one, a woman who was originally from Listowel but who has been living elsewhere in north Kerry had been buried in the plot adjoining his wife.

It is understood the same plot was sold twice by the council in error .

The January burial has now been exhumed and buried elsewhere in the cemetery.

However locally the council is coming under criticism for its handling of the situation and for not straight away offering an open apology to both families.

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“Both these families are grieving; they are at a very early stage of handling grief. For a body as big as Kerry County Council to deal with families who are so traumatised in this way is not on,” the source said.

In a statement this afternoon, the Council confirmed that contact was made and maintained with both of the families affected “from the outset”.

“Formal apologies have issued to both families involved, having due regard to the sensitivities involved,” it said. 

“The council is reviewing existing procedures in this matter.”

About the author:

Anne Lucey

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