herald

Monday 23 October 2017

Joan's comments 'unfair' over €3k cost of city graves

Joan Burton. Photo: Clodagh Kilcoyne
Joan Burton. Photo: Clodagh Kilcoyne

FAMILIES can expect to pay an average of €3,000 for a grave in Dublin, figures show.

However funeral directors have hit back at "unfair comments" by Social Protection Minister Joan Burton about "staggering" burial costs in Dublin. She said that the charges for even putting in a small urn relating to the ashes of a loved one are "extraordinarily high in an existing family grave".

Graham Gleasure, spokesperson for the Irish Association of Funeral Directors, said: "The main reason why a grave costs more in Dublin than it does in Kerry or Leitrim, is because land is obviously more expensive and there is less of it.

"Obviously, a grave costs you more in London than it does in Cork because land is more valuable," he said.

Cemeteries in Dublin are owned by the county council or the Church or by an individual. For example, in Glasnevin a trust owns a number of cemeteries, and "they would have their price for theirs, and once you go inside the gate of that cemetery, if you want to have somebody buried there, you must work within their framework and abide by their rules".

In relation to the Minister's remarks, Mr Gleasure said he believed it was unfair as she didn't clearly explain that there are a lot of different things that contribute to the costs, and what is involved. "It is like saying it's expensive to buy a house. what do you mean by that?"

Unfair

"To bury a small urn in Dublin is expensive. If you don't own a grave you have to face the purchase cost of a grave, or a memorial wall you put the urn into, and then the cemeteries will charge a certain amount, that would be their administration, their paperwork, their person to open the grave.

"You can't open a grave one foot deep, that won't do. You must open it to a certain depth, and put it back together properly. It will vary throughout the country, and obviously Dublin is going to be more expensive."

Meanwhile, Jonathan Stafford, of Staffords Funeral Directors, said: "There is a huge difference in cemetery fees in Dublin and rural areas. You are limited to space."

However, he added: "Funeral directors fees are exactly the same whether you are in rural areas or the city."

If anything, some of the funeral directors in the city are more affordable, due to the fact they may carry out more funerals, he added.

Cemetery costs vary dramatically around Dublin depending on demand. But an average for a new grave would start around €2,000, with an "opening fee" bringing the cost to €3,000.

fdillon@herald.ie

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