Justine Dwyer

Twenty per cent of Waterford City’s population was not born in Ireland
according to local Fianna Fail councillor Eamon Quinlan this week who has
called for a burial ground for different faiths.
At the most recent Metropolitan meeting of Waterford City and County
Council, Cllr Quinlan raised the fact that Waterford City now has demographic
information to show that 20% of the Cities population was not originally born
in Ireland.
An important implication of this, he said, was that all burial grounds in the
County are either under the control of the local authority or in the hands of
one of Irelands Christian denominations. “As many people living in Waterford
now come from countries with predominantly non-Christian faiths such as
Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism and more, I feel some sort of provision
needed to be made to provide graveyards for them, so that they may observe
their religions funeral rights.”
Commenting on this after the meeting Cllr Quinlan said “We have a very
diverse community in Waterford. It has built up relatively quickly and
unfortunately, many resources to accommodate their needs simply are not
there. Most immigrants are relatively young, are working and have young
families of their own. As such, there hasn’t been a huge demand for burial
spaces. This of course will change over time.”
“We have vibrant communities from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria and
so on. We have some of the oldest graveyards in the country but they either
operate on the Christian or non-denominational spectrum. The problem with
an offering of Christian or non-Christian is that it does not offer a clear choice
for other religions to observe their funeral rights in their own consecrated
We in Waterford have some of the best of Irelands past, he maintained, “but
that does not mean we should be caught on the hop about our future.”

The provision of such fundamental services by local authorities, he said was
notoriously patchy around the country with large swathes of the country
without any such diverse religious provision.
Responding to Cllr Quinlan, the head of Waterford’s Environmental and
outdoor services team, Mr Raymond Moloney advised that the Council was
using its new non-denominational graveyard to provide such services when the
need arises. This has led, he said to a small section of the graveyard already
having a number of persons of the Islamic faith buried there and that this
would be the Council’s plan for the foreseeable future.
“I think it is great that we have a small provision in place but I think this fails to
take on my point. A small section of one graveyard, that while non-
denominational, as it is across the road from the local Catholic Church is seen
by many as having an affiliation, is not proper planning for communities that
now make up almost a 5 th of our Cities population,” said Cllr. Quinlan.
“We still have large swathes of land banks on our cities edge. We have most of
it designated for future housing. Housing is badly needed but we must never
forget, we are building communities, not just houses. That means we need to
include areas such as parks, educational spaces and yes graveyards for the
population that will occupy these areas.”
A small corner of a pre-existing graveyard is a short-term solution, and not a
way to make our new Irish Citizens feel respected and included in our society
going forward, concluded Cllr. Quinlan.

Cllr. Eamon Quinlan has called for there to be burial grounds for different faiths.


S1 Pic 2: Fianna Fail councillor Eamon Quinlan.