Alex Easton MLA has launched a petition to try and get legislative changes to The Burial Grounds Regulations NI 1992 to try and ensure that families do not have to have the shock of being told their loved one cannot be buried in a family grave plot at the last moment.

Speaking today Alex Easton MLA said:

“There are two elements to this petition the first is to try and get the Community’s Minster at the NI Assembly to look at the regulations and ask for legislative changes to allow graves bought before pre-1992 to be used as they were originally intended. Families are only discovering their grave plot does not meet 1992 regulation a day before the funeral when the grave is opened – it is heart breaking and distressing and the regulations need to be changed.”

“The second part of this is to ensure that there are changes in how the Council handle and deal with burials. It is not acceptable that Council tells a family the day before a burial that their loved one can’t be buried in the family grave plot. There needs to be a communication drive to identify those families that there may be issues with the family grave plots in the future so that those families are informed well in advance that there may be issues and have plenty of time to resolve those issues.”

“It is also important that Council recognizes and apologize to those families this has affected, and who have bought family grave plots for burials in good faith only to discover that there may be issues. Finally the Council should not be charging £110 for a depth testing service, that is a scandal and a money making scheme which needs to stop, those families who have grave plots bought in good faith should be given this service free of charge.”

“The Petition has so far reached 4600 signatures and can be found online at #LetCampbellRest and I would ask the public to support and sign. The petition will be handed over to the NI Assembly and a copy also sent to Ards and North Down Council and hopefully both will listen and allow their citizens dignity in death, to be buried with their loved one, to have their final wishes adhered to. It’s time for common sense and compassion and I don’t believe that is a lot for anyone to ask for.”