The members of the Claremorris electoral area committee were told that it was the Department of the Environment which was holding up improvement works on the cemetery in Ballinrobe, rather than the council’s heritage officer. Seamus Granhan, director of services for Mayo County Council, was responding to a notice of motion put forward by Fianna Fáil Councillor Damien Ryan which asked the county manager “to intervene in relation to the ongoing hold up in the Ballinrobe cemetery and improvement works which are currently at a standstill due an intervention by the heritage officer”.
Cllr Ryan told the meeting that the council gave funding to get the work carried out in the cemetery in the town and a committee was set up last year. “At first it moved very well, we got one third of the cemetery cleaned up, but then the work was put on hold, because the heritage officer came in and got involved,” he said.
Cllr Patsy O’Brien supported the motion. “A lot of work had gone into the first phase of a three phase project and you wouldn’t recognise the first phase now from what it was a while ago,” Cllr O’Brien said. “We were told there would be a report on the cemetery with the heritage officer by September but it’s now November and nothing has happened yet.” Cllr Michael Burke also spoke in support of the motion, saying it was something that the people of Ballinrobe have been waiting to see get sorted out for a while. “We are coming into a time when the weather will be poor and if the cemetery works were completed it would make accessing it easier for the public,” he added.
Mr Granahan told the members that it was not the heritage officer who was holding up the development but the Department of Environment. “The graveyard is a national monument and it comes under their control, a request was made for a report on it and it was sent last May,” Mr Granahan said. “We have looked for a response from them on it already and still haven’t got it, but will contact the Department again now to try and progress the matter.”