Girl's family devastated after grave is 'disturbed'
Cemetery authorities say work is part of clean-up

The heartbroken parents of a five-year-old girl who died from cancer say they are devastated that the surround has been removed from their daughter’s grave at Milltown Cemetery without their knowledge.

Phillip and Marie O’Brien attended their daughter Colleen’s grave earlier this week and found that the surround and paving stones had been removed and replaced with a mound of earth. The Turf Lodge couple say they were not aware that any work would be carried out at the cemetery.

However Citywide Cemetery Regeneration (CCR) Limited, who are responsible for Milltown Cemetery, say that grave owners were informed months ago about the removal of surrounds from graves in the cemetery.
Little Colleen died on May 22 1993 after losing her 14-month battle with cancer. The child had suffered from muscle tumours and a brain tumour.

Her parents say they were shocked to discover that Colleen’s grave had been disturbed and are angry that they were not contacted personally by cemetery authorities to tell them about developments.

“We got a phone call from a family member on Sunday to tell us to get down to the child’s grave immediately,” said Phillip.

“My wife and I went down and the scene that met us was really heartbreaking, it was like a mudslide,” he added.

“When I saw the grave I broke down in tears and couldn’t stop crying,” said Marie.

“It looked like the grave had been newly dug,” she added.
Colleen’s parents say they have made an official complaint to the cemetery authorities.

“We had gone down to tidy the grave for Christmas. Christmas is really hard for us without Colleen and this makes it even harder,” said Phillip.

“How are we meant to go to Colleen’s grave on Christmas Day and face that mess?

“Any relative who goes to the cemetery and finds that mess will be heartbroken,” he added.

Roy McDonnell from CCR Limited said that notices about the ongoing work at Milltown Cemetery have been clearly displayed for the last four months and that if leaseholders of graves had any queries about the major improvement works they were welcome to make a complaint at the cemetery office.

“The long-term future of Milltown Cemetery includes the removal of surrounds and notices telling leaseholders of this have been displayed in the cemetery for the past four months,” said Roy.

“Photographs of what we are trying to achieve at the cemetery are available at the office and people are more than welcome to contact us.

“Leaseholds clearly state that surrounds are not allowed on graves and any lease bought within the last 30 years will state this clearly. The work carried out at this grave is part of a long-term plan for the cemetery which most people are in favour of,” he added.

Roy said that it is hoped that a grass lawn will cover the graves by January or February and said that this will be maintained by CCR at no cost to the public.
“If the O’Briens want to speak to me personally on this issue, I will be happy to meet with them,” he added.

Sinn Féin MLA Alex Maskey said it was regrettable that the O’Briens had been upset by events.

“The work being carried out at the cemetery is long overdue,” said Councillor Maskey.

“It is unfortunate that some people were not made aware of the plans and were caught off guard when they visited the cemetery,” he added.

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?