Talking Politics: Sledge hammer cracking a nut

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When does a memorial site become a personal shrine?

It would appear that Coun Sweeney as cabinet member has decided people who leave trinkets and items on graves and at the crematorium, are a health and safety issue.

In which some ways I agree with him, such as removing tree hanging wind chimes and solar lights that could be a danger to staff that are using equipment to cut the grass. I feel that a consultation period for people who have bought plots and keep them in an orderly way should have a chance to comment on what is acceptable to leave on the final resting place of a loved one.

The new policy seems to be to use a sledge hammer to crack a nut. People at a time of bereavement do not read the small print on the agreement with the Council regarding leaving items. 90 per cent of people will leave flowers, a teddy bear, rosary beads, a statue of the Virgin Mary or a photo.

For these people to then be told that all items will be removed two weeks later, I feel is too heavy handed. The items, so we are told, would be stored for six months and if claimed by the relatives returned, the cost in manpower and administration would be totally unacceptable.

I feel as we did with road side memorials that personal contact with people who want to leave items at children’s and other loved ones’ resting place should have a personal contact, rather than the blanket removal of these items. We now have 27 countries in the EU which means we have many cultures and religions that leave different items at a loved one’s grave. We need a better dialogue with the public rather than this heavy handed unpublicised and inappropriate policy.