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Michael Healy-Rae on toilets and graveyards

Michael Healy-Rae has asked the Government its views on installing toilets in graveyards in the interest of visitors.

Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris has its own public facilities.
Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris has its own public facilities.
Image: Nebel via Flickr/Creative Commons

THE GOVERNMENT HAS been asked whether it should compel local authorities to provide public facilities in graveyards.

The question was posed by Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae in the Dáil last week.

Healy-Rae wondered if authorities, who manage and maintain burial grounds, should be instructed to install and provide toilets in graveyards “in the interest of people visiting…working there and people attending masses”.

Responding in a written answer, the Minister for Local Government Phil Hogan dismissed the suggestion, stating that such matters are entirely the concern for each authority. He added that his department would have “no direct function” in relation to the management of graveyards.

Healy-Rae told TheJournal.ie that he was not satisfied with the response as it kicked the issue to “cash starved” local authorities who could not afford to build such facilities.

He said the idea came about not from a local issue but from a national one.

“The majority of graveyards are on the edge of towns and villages and if public toilets were located there, they could double up as facilities for the locality as they would be within a reasonable distance,” he explained.

The lack of public toilets at burial grounds has been a problem raised by various groups, including undertakers, grave diggers and those frequenting graveyards, added the Kerry deputy.

In May, Fingal County Council officially opened a new cemetery at Flemington in Balbriggan which has been fitted out with public toilets.

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