Family devastated after finding out Lismore cemetery is full

St. Moluag's Cathedral on Lismore. 16-T03-stmoluagschurcj
St. Moluag's Cathedral on Lismore. 16-T03-stmoluagschurcj

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A family have been left devastated after finding out there are no more burial plots left on Lismore.

They had hoped to lay a relative to rest beside his family on the island last week, but had no idea the cemetery was full.

A post was shared online highlighting the issue in a bid to stop others ending up in a similar situation.

It read: ‘We had hoped to bury a much loved family member on Lismore. After exhausting all options, it has been confirmed to us that there are no more available and deep enough grave plots on the island and no depth left in any of our existing family plots.

‘We had no idea about this. I think we assumed it would be common knowledge once the graveyard was getting full rather than it coming as such a shock at an already difficult time.

‘We are now having to think of other options for him and are devastated to not lay him to rest with his family in Lismore.

‘If you own existing plots it might be worth confirming with the council that there will definitely be room for a burial in them when the time comes.’

Archie McGillivray, chairman of Lismore Community Council, said the situation is quite serious.

‘It is a concern, because when something happens there is no where for folk to go,’ he told The Oban Times.

‘The nearest cemetery is Pennyfuir in Oban, but local people on the island don’t want to be taken away to Pennyfuir. They want to be with their family.’

Oban councillor, Kieron Green said: ‘Being faced with the death of a loved one is difficult enough without worries over whether they will be able to be buried in a place close enough that respects can be made in years to come.

‘Sadly across Argyll and Bute a number of graveyards are full or nearly so, and clearly this is something that should be being addressed.

‘For individual sites, options can be looked at including investigating whether there are lairs reserved which are no longer required, or whether land is available adjacent so that additional lairs can be created. A further challenge is the depth of soil available in graveyards both on existing as well as potential new land.

‘It is my hope that work being carried out by officers on Lismore and elsewhere will mean that in future this situation is not repeated. I offer my sincere condolences and apologies to the family who have not been able to bury their relative in the graveyard.’

Argyll and Bute Council said it will be asking local residents across the constituency about their personal choices and views this year, so ‘a new set of cemetery policies can be proposed’.

The council has revealed there are 66 cemeteries closed to the sale of spaces, which has remained ‘fairly stable’ since 2005.

Local authorities are only required to provide one cemetery per area, but Argyll and Bute has 65 cemeteries available for the purchase of lairs.

There are a large number of lairs that have been sold, but 70 years have lapsed without them being used. One option in areas of most need, the council said, could be to investigate if these are still needed and claim them back if not.

Councillor Robin Currie, policy lead for housing, roads and infrastructure services, said: ‘Caring appropriately for those who have passed away has been an important rite for human beings for many thousands of years – whatever our beliefs.

‘We appreciate the desire from people to be at rest with their loved ones in places with family connections. What we want to do is understand priorities and expectation so we can plan for the future and try to ensure that no areas are disadvantaged.’