Fianna Fáil Galway city councillors have called for the immediate reinstatement of Sunday burials in the city following the recent Government announcement that some 3,000 additional workers are being allocated to local authorities across the country under the 'Gateways Initiative'.
The Galway City Council is set to receive an allocation of five additional staff members to its environmental and outdoor maintenance section which, according to Councillor Ollie Crowe, means that the council has no more excuses as to why the Sunday burial tradition has not been restored.
It is envisaged that each participant employee will be remunerated an extra €20 a week in additional to his or her basic weekly allowance from the Department of Social Protection for some 20 hours worked, with participants receiving the same statutory annual leave and public holiday entitlements.
Councillor Ollie Crowe, who has led the campaign for the reinstatement of the long established seven day burial tradition in the city, said he had already contacted city manager Brendan McGrath seeking assurance that the service would now be reinstated immediately. The matter of Sunday burials was once again raised by Cllr Crowe at the annual budgetary meeting in City Hall at which the new city manager agreed to review the matter.
“While obviously tradition is a hugely important factor, the additional problems the removal of Sunday burials has caused, including inconvenience and additional cost for mourners, are now capable of being removed and we are now calling on the city manager to reinstate this service as quickly as possible as this influx of additional staff means there is simply no justification for the continued denial of the service of Sunday burials,” said Cllr Crowe on the matter.
Councillor Michael Crowe also welcomed the announcement, stating; “This initiative will provide people who have been long term unemployed a welcome opportunity to gain experience and new skills leaving them in a stronger position to find full time employment upon completion of the scheme. The Government has ignored the plight of the long term unemployed for too long but this is a first step in the right direction and should be welcomed accordingly.”
Cllr Michael Crowe also pointed out that the additional workforce Galway City Council will have as a result of the scheme should mean the reintroduction of seven day burials at once, a tradition which has been in place in Galway city for hundreds of years can now be rightfully restored.
Councillor Peter Keane, who had recently proposed an internship programme for Galway City Council as a method of freeing up more qualified staff to implement policy being devised by councillors, said; “I understand that sufficient resources are available to provide some 1,500 placements in 29 councils immediately, with the remaining allocations on a phased basis, and I am urging the city manager to use all his influence to secure this allocation of additional staff as a matter of urgency as this presents the perfect opportunity to reinstate the seven day burial service in the city and we in Fianna Fail will be using all within our power of procurement to ensure the service is now reinstated for 2014