Kilbarry Cemetery, the city’s new municipal graveyard, is likely to open early next year.

The City Council this week moved to commence the public consultation process on the facility, earmarked for a 10 acre site off Ballybeg Drive, close to St Saviour’s Church. Intended to replace St Otteran’s Cemetery in nearby Ballinanaeshagh, which is almost full to capacity, the new cemetery will include 4,500 grave spaces and is anticipated to last for about a century.

A variation to the current Development Plan was adopted last month to facilitate the rezoning of lands for the development and the site itself has been assessed by consultations appointed by the Council and deemed suitable for use as a cemetery

Plans for the new graveyard, unveiled at Monday night’s monthly meeting of the local authority, include the provision of an ashes repository (known as a columbarium), a memory garden, to be used for municipal and other memorials as well as a place of prayer and reflection, a plot of angels and a central ceremonial plaza. The latter area will consist of seating and a raised dais, which will be a central feature and focal point to the entire cemetery. The development will be surrounded by a mixture of boundary walls, railings and palisade fencing and will include a car park to accommodate 100 cars, with a vehicular entrance off the Kilbarry Link Road.

A potential future site for a mortuary building has also been included in the plans, though this area is intended to provide overflow car parking for the moment. The cemetery will be landscaped both within and without the boundaries and is to be developed over 2 phases, with work expected to commence in the late summer and the cemetery likely to be operational some time next year.

A public information session on the new cemetery will be held in Ballybeg on Wednesday, 29th April at 7.30pm and submissions will be accepted by the City Council until Friday, 5th June.

At Monday night’s meeting of the Council, Cllr Seamus Ryan pointed out that the cemetery was for the entire city and not just the Ward 3 area. “The public consultation process should also be for the whole city and not just the Ballybeg area”, he said.

Cllr. Tom Murphy noted that there was a significant amount of fencing in the Ballybeg area already and suggested planting trees along the perimeter of the graveyard. Cllr Cha O’Neill asked that the clergy be included in the consultation process and suggested naming the facility Kilbarry Cemetery, since it was only a stone’s throw from the original Kilbarry graveyard. Cllr Tom Cunningham recommended the provision of water and refuse deposit facilities for people attending to graves. Cllr Davy Daniels noted the enormous effort made by the parish of Sts Joseph and Benildus in opening a new cemetery at Ballygunner, where great community spirit was demonstrated.

In response to a query by Cllr Joe Kelly, Director of Services Colette Byrne confirmed that discussions were taking place regarding a private cemetery in Waterford. She told the meeting that the Kilbarry Cemetery would be completely funded by the City Council and bylaws would be introduced at a later date regarding the permissible heights of monuments in the graveyard. A budget of €2 million has been allocated by the City Council for the development of the new graveyard