Is a graveyard a suitable place in which to park cars? Opinion was divided when the issue was raised at the January meeting of Tramore Town Council on Tuesday night last.
Blaise Hannigan was angered that people were using St. Patrick’s Cemetery in the resort for parking. He said that during Mass on the second Sunday in December he counted eleven cars there and on occasions he had seen up to twenty.
He said it was unacceptable, adding indignantly that if somebody parked at his parents’ grave it would not happen a second time. “Next thing they will be driving up to the church altar to park”, he suggested, adding that those who left their cars in the cemetery obviously had nobody buried there.
But Dan Cowman disagreed totally. He said he had relatives in the graveyard and had no difficulty at all with the practice of parking there. They did no harm at all and helped keep the roadway clear outside for other vehicles.
Lola O’Sullivan, however, sided with Cllr. Hannigan. She said she also had relatives buried there and uncles of hers had complained that on occasions cars obstructed the grave, which was near the entrance.
When Cllr. Cowman repeated his view on the matter, Cllr. Hannigan retorted: “Is the cemetery a car park at Mass times then? Is that what we’re saying”?
Cllr. O’Sullivan said a cemetery was a sacred place and as such it could not also be a car park.
Cllr. Cowman wondered if the same applied to the church grounds then. He said Monsignor Olden had asked from the altar for people to refrain from parking in the grounds and his pleas had fallen on deaf ears.
Mayor Joe Conway said ordinary sensibilities would suggest graveyards should not be used as car parks, given the respect most people had for their dead and for the dead of others. He wondered why there was no gate in place to stop traffic and was informed by Cllr. Hannigan that the old gates had rotted and were not replaced.
Town Manager Brian White undertook to have a look at the situation with the County Engineer and come back with suggestions.