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Council lay out ideas on how they plan to prevent any further distressing scenes at Kernan cemetery

The details of how Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council officers plan to tackle problems at Kernan Cemetery have been set out.

The issue was brought before Council’s environmental services committee in December, when Councillor Darryn Causby told members the path in the new section of the graveyard had become unsafe.

In line with council policy, the new section of the graveyard, which opened in 2018, uses a plastic mesh as a walkway instead of a solid footpath.

However, the ground at the cemetery is not as firm as had been hoped, leading to some distressing scenes and numerous complaints from members of the public.

Ahead of January’s meeting of the committee, officers provided members with a report outlining what steps officers will take in the short to medium term while members make a decision on the provision of permanent paths in the cemetery.

Read more: Co Armagh family’s distress as they forced to stand in mud and wait to bury loved one as grave fixed

The report sets out three steps that officers and cemetery staff believe will mitigate the problems in the short to medium term.

The first of these steps is to lay ground protection mats as temporary pathways between rows of graves in the cemetery with each mat to be kept down for longer before and after each service.

If a committal service is taking place green artificial grass matting will be rolled out for the service.

The second step will see digger movements restricted to ground protection mats and where possible, they will be placed outside of the walkway in use, to ensure ground in the middle of plots remains as unbroken and as uncompacted as possible.

In early May or June officers will seek to bring a deep air de-compaction unit in to work on the site.

The de-compaction unit was last on site in September 2020 when it injected air to a depth of 500mm at one meter intervals.

The aeration process will open up and improve the dispersal of surface water by breaking up the sub structure.

With these measures in place it is hoped the surface will remain sufficient until such time as councillors decided what to do about the creation of permanent paths at the cemetery.

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