Calls for stronger bye-laws in Kerry to curb erection of 12ft headstones

There are calls for stronger bye-laws and enforcement to deal with the erection of 12ft high headstones in Kerry cemeteries.

Issues about the height of headstones were raised by several councillors in the adoption of Kerry County Council’s Bye-Laws for Cemeteries 2018.

Following a vote they were passed, and are due to come into effect on the 1st of March.

Cllr Brendan Cronin said ‘obscene’ monuments, some up to 12 foot and costing €100,000 are being erected in Aghadoe cemetery, Killarney and are overshadowing other graves.

He says fines of up to €1,900 for contravening the new bye-laws are pittance to some people, and he accused council management of losing control of the facility.

Cllr Niall Kelleher believes the bye-laws aren’t strong enough to deal with people flouting them.

Cllr Johnny Healy-Rae says shrines as big as the one in Knock are being erected and believes there should be information at cemetery entrances stating the bye-laws, which stipulate a headstone or monument can’t exceed 1.5 metres or 4ft 11 inches.

Director of Services Charlie O’Sullivan said the new bye-laws require stonemasons to register with the council before they can erect headstones in council-owned cemeteries.

He acknowledged there have been issues with enforcement but feels these bye-laws give stronger controls.

Cllr Patrick Connor Scarteen believes there aren’t enough Columbarium Walls – these facilitate the burial of cremated remains in urns – they’re to be developed in Killarney burial ground and Rath Cemetery, Tralee .