Overgrown weeds at Deansgrange cemetery ‘very hurtful to families’

Tall weeds have made it difficult for family members to visit graves of their loved ones

 

Residents of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown have complained of invasive and overgrown weeds at Deansgrange cemetery, where their relatives are buried.

The tall weeds have rendered it difficult for people wishing to visit their loved one’s graves to find the headstones.

Residents have lodged complaints to the cemetery and to the local Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown council, asking for the area to be cleared.

Brenda Mason, whose mother is buried at Deansgrange, described the situation as “a disgrace”.

Speaking to The Irish Times, she said she often visits the grave with her sister Jennifer. Brenda’s mother has been buried at the cemetery for almost 27 years.

“We go there frequently, not just for anniversaries or birthdays. We spend a lot of time cleaning up the grave and each season we go out to put flowers and a wreath down,” she explained. Recently, her sister checked on the grave and was “horrified” by the overgrown weeds.

“When you get in there, you can’t actually even see the headstones,” she said.

With her mother’s anniversary coming up soon, Ms Mason was worried her father, who is 79 and has had a hip replacement, might fall when he visits the headstone.

Similarly, Susan Gregg recently went to visit her brother and grandparents’ headstones. “When I drove in, it looked really bad. I went to my brother’s grave and I knew exactly where it was but it took me a while to find the headstone because it was so overgrown,” she said.

Maximise biodiversity

“I saw an old woman who was trying to make it to her husband’s grave as well. She looked visibly upset and said it was his birthday so she wanted to lay flowers. A friend and I helped her in but we were terrified she was going to fall,” she said.

Ms Gregg emailed the cemetery with photographs and was told pesticides were no longer being used to help preserve and maximise biodiversity.

Sinn Féin Dublin Bay South TD Chris Andrew, whose grandfather is also buried at the cemetery, described the situation as deplorable.

“People deserve better. We entrust our families to the authorities to care for them after they pass away. There has to be a better way of maintaining the cemetery rather than just making it appear unsafe and derelict looking,” he said.

“It’s very hurtful to families and just unnecessary to have a graveyard in this condition. There’s no words for how disappointing it is.”

Responding to a request for comment from The Irish Times, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown council said the authority is “currently developing an integrated management plan” for the cemetery.

“This will involve a full-scale reassessment of our approach to weed control within the cemetery with a view to developing a range of optimum, environmentally friendly, location-specific solutions for weed control,” a statement said.

“The plan includes maximising biodiversity through not using herbicides in public areas. Unfortunately the Cemetery has been inundated by an invasive plant known as Mare’s Tail.”

The council is “developing a suite of treatments to deal with this plant” which will “result in improvements shortly.”