A major €560,000 investment by Laois County Council in St Peter and Paul’s Cemetery in Portlaoise has been confirmed.
As part of the Council’s capital expenditure programme for the next three years, Councillors voted in favour of the plan for Portlaoise.
€60,000 of this investment is being ringfenced to provide for a Columbarium Wall – something that Fianna Fail Councillor Catherine Fitzgerald has been called for for several years.
A Columbarium is a wall, room, or building used to store urns holding the ashes of people who have died and been cremated.
The name “Columbarium” comes from columba, the Latin word for dove, because columbaria usually have niches to hold the urns that resemble those in dovecotes.
Director of Services Donal Brennan confirmed at Monday’s meeting that a tender to construct the wall would be put out at the start of 2022.
Cllr Fitzpatrick said: “The fact the money is there now means the project can be put out to tender so designs can be gotten to see what people would like.
“I would hope that by next year this will be in place because the demand is certainly there for it.
“Since I brought this up first, I’ve never had as many people approach me and express their interest in it.
“Some of their family members have used these Columbarium Walls in other areas and they believe that it should be available to people in Laois too.
“This is the start of a genuine commitment from the County Council to provide this.”
A further €500,000 has been provided for ‘planning for the future of Portlaoise cemetery’.
Cllr Fitzgerald said: “I have raised the issue many times as the reality is that we are running out of space.
“Over 100 people die in Portlaoise every year so we need to plan for the future because our cemetery is filling up.
“So that €500,000 is now secured that will allow us to make this investment. They can use this to purchase more land.
“This is not a subject that I want to keep talking about, but it is a part of life. Death is part of everyone’s life and we want to provide services to people.”
Meanwhile, Monday’s meeting also heard that Laois may have its own crematorium in the not too distant future.
That is after Director of Services Donal Brennan confirmed that a businessman had approached him to inquire about constructing one.
He said: “I had an approach by a private individual, a businessman, in the past month looking to investigate the possibility.
“I pointed him in the right direction to research it further. Obviously I wish the person all the best in their researches.”