Vote needed to approval burial ground bye-laws for the county

The long drawn out saga of putting in place countywide bye-laws for burial grounds in Mayo was finally concluded on Monday when the members of Mayo County Council approved the new bye-laws by a vote of 15-7 after a number of last minute amendments were proposed from the chamber floor.

The removal from the bye-laws of discretion in regards the height of headstones, if requested, by members of the public was unanimously backed from the floor. However a proposal by Fianna Fáil councillor Damien Ryan to increase the maximum height of headstones from the proposed 1.5 metres to 1.85 metres was rejected when put to a vote in the chamber. Cllr Ryan received support for his motion form his five fellow Fianna Fáil members who were in attendance with independent councillor Frank Durcan also supporting the motion. The motion was opposed by the Fine Gael party members in the chamber and a number of other Independents, with the two Sinn Féin councillors Gerry Murray and Rose Conway Walsh abstaining from the vote, while Independent councillor Gerry Ginty excused himself from the debate and the vote, owing to a conflict of interest due to his profession as a monumental sculptor.

The removal of the provision included in the draft bye-laws where people could apply to the relevant director of services in each electoral area for an exemption from the height restrictions prior to the errection of a headstone, was “welcomed with open arms” according to county manager Peter Hynes. The new bye-laws will put the responsibility on monumental sculptors to ensure that all headstones comply with the bye-laws among other new regulations.


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