The next Galway City Council meeting takes place on Monday at 4pm in City Hall, with the operation and management of the city’s cemeteries being the main item for discussion.
A report will be presented to councillors regarding the city cemeteries and the issue has become something of a sore point between the elected members and officials of late.
The city’s Fianna Fáil councillors - Peter Keane, and Ollie and Michael J Crowe - have called on the council to re-allocate staff to deal with the escalating problem of delayed burials in the city. They have also sharply criticised the decision to abolish Sunday burials.
“It is unacceptable that bereaved families should have further suffering thrust upon them as a result of unnecessary delays,” said Cllr Keane. “The service provided by our staff at city cemeteries is first class, but is being totally undermined by depleting staff numbers.”
According to Cllr Keane, through retirement and sick leave, the staff complement at Rahoon Graveyard has been reduced from 10 members in 2009 to three this year.
He has now tabled a question to the city manager Joe O’Neill asking why staff are not being re-allocated from within the parks department to deal with this issue and ensure “burials can occur in a timely fashion”.
Cllr Ollie Crowe has further questioned claims by council officials that the cancellation of Sunday burials will save €60,000. “There is no evidence anywhere of that,” he said. “At the most it would save €20-25,000, but it also means that there will be a backlog of work on Saturdays and Mondays.”
Apart from the issue of cemeteries, councillors will also have to consider a number of reports from officials, such as the Housing & Environment; Transport, Infrastructure, Recreation & Amenity; and the Arts and Culture reports for the last quarter of 2011.