Bereaved families slam cemetery thieves

By Mary Dennehy

Bohernabreena cemetery resizedBEREAVED families are calling on South Dublin County Council to introduce CCTV at Bohernabreena Cemetery, in an attempt to curtail car break-ins, illegal dumping and theft from graves.

Security measures at the local cemetery have been on the agenda for a number of years, mainly down to the number of cars being broken into while people visit and attend the graves of loved ones.

A recent spate of robberies has prompted those visiting the cemetery on a regular basis to once again call on the council to examine the possibility of CCTV, and to “maintain and make safe” the cemetery for those using it.

One mother, who visits the cemetery daily to tend her son’s grave, said: “I’m up in the cemetery every day, and in the summer sometimes twice.

“The situation has gotten very bad up there and I think it’s important that, until we can get the council to do something, people visiting the cemetery are aware that cars are being broken into – especially cars belonging to older ladies.

“It’s disgusting that these thieves are targeting people when they are at their most vulnerable and upset, and are in their own space remembering their loved one.”

She added: “Bohernabreena Cemetery needs CCTV, even though it’s a busy cemetery, it is isolated and the council has a responsibility to make sure it is safe for visitors.

“It’s not cheap buying a plot there and the least the council could do with some of this money, is to make safe the cemetery for those visiting.

“CCTV would also help deter those dumping illegally in the cemetery and also theft from graves.

“We will be putting pressure on the council to get this sorted, but until action is taken, we want to make the community aware of the thefts – and encourage people to spread the word.”

When contacted by The Echo, the council confirmed that the 2015 budget for the eight burial grounds it owns and operates across the county is €977,000, which covers payroll, insurance, minor contracts and transfers to the capital account to fund expansion programmes.

The council added that income derived from the sale of plots is used as a funding mechanism but that it does not cover the full running costs of all eight cemeteries.

A council spokeswoman said: “Hidden or overt cameras are not installed by the council unless there is a demonstrated need to assist the council in collecting evidence to assist in investigation of illegal activity.

“In managing the use of CCTV, the council is mindful of resources available and requests for the installation of technologies will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.”

Gardaí at Tallaght are aware that cars are being targeted in Bohernabreena cemetery and have encouraged people to leave valuables at home when visiting the cemetery.

A senior officer also confirmed that gardaí have upped patrols in the area and are constantly monitoring the situation.

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