Cemetery safety checks will be carried out 'sensitively', pledges Mid Ulster Council

Chair of the Mid Ulster District Councils Environment Committee, Councillor Wilbert Buchanan
Chair of the Mid Ulster District Councils Environment Committee, Councillor Wilbert Buchanan

Mid Ulster District Council is starting a programme of safety checks of headstones and memorials in local cemeteries.

Checks are due to begin next week in Forthill, Cookstown, one of five main cemeteries currently in use and managed by the council.

The aim is to identify any memorials or headstones which may be at risk of toppling or breaking.

The cemeteries in Drumcoo, Coolhill and Cottagequinn in Dungannon and Polepatrick, Magherafelt will then be checked over the next number of weeks.

Similar checks will then be carried out on a further 25 old burial grounds which are no longer in use.

The purpose is to ensure that cemeteries are safe places for those who visit them and who work there.

Chair of the Council’s Environment Committee, Councillor Wilbert Buchanan, explained: “We anticipate that the majority of headstones and memorials will be safe and stable and this programme of checks will help us to identify any memorials where we may need to take action to stabilise them and then make contact with grave owners.

"Our priority is to undertake the programme sensitively, ultimately ensuring that our cemeteries are safe for our visitors and staff.”

Details of the programme, including an outline timetable for the work’s completion, together with the checking and stabilising processes, are available at https://www.midulstercouncil.org/resident/registration-services/cemeteries/memorial-safety