By Dan Walsh
The people of Enniscorthy are to be given another opportunity to officially name the Municipal Cemetery at Summerhill through submissions subject to approval by the local councillors, but saints names are NOT permitted!
The naming of the multi-denominational cemetery had already sought submissions – but the Council got no public suggestions – and now the matter is going back to the public today’s (Monday) monthly meeting of Enniscorthy Municipal District Council held with Microsoft Teams under Covid-19 guidelines and protocols heard.
Michael Sweeney from Wexford County Council said the members had the powers to substitute a new placename for the Municipal Cemetery at Summerhill but no submissions were received under the public consultation process that expired on April 16th so it is referred to the members to propose a different name.
Due to lack of submissions a number of names were submitted (four in all) Summerhill and Blackstoops, in English and Irish, suggesting that the names should reflect the local townsland, a landscape, culture or historical persons associated with the area, placenames should be easy to pronounce and the use of the Irish language is encouraged.
Cllr Jackser Owens said some people suggested to him that it be called St. Mary’s New Cemetery to compliment St. Mary’s Old Cemetery opposite, Mr Sweeney replied that he had concerns that this may cause confusion – duplication of names is not permitted within the same electoral area!
Cllr Owens was disappointed at the reply and had already asked for a statute there with a lovely flowerbed but it was refused. “I cannot see why?” he retorted.
Cllr John O’Rourke said it is commonly referred to as Enniscorthy Cemetery and “can we not leave it like that?” He added that there are plots there designated for different denominations, including the Muslim community, and it would be indicative of staying with Enniscorthy Cemetery.
Mr Sweeney said Cllr O’Rourke correctly pointed out that the burial place is multi-denominational and non-denominational so naming a saint might be an issue there! As regards Enniscorthy Cemetery he said’ absolutely’ but it was up to the members to decide.
Cllr Kathleen Codd-Nolan wondered if a decision was expected today and said it was a pity that people did not submit names and she hopes to do some research on it for the next meeting. “It is sad to think that no-one bothered to make submissions,” she concluded. Cllr Aidan Browne agreed and suggested to wait and get the opinions of people around the town. He said that being St. Aidan’s Parish that could be considered. Of the four nominated Cllr Browne favoured Blackstoops.
Cllr Cathal Byrne said “this is an important decision” and he suggested sending it back for public consultation given that it was during the lockdown and people were poorly informed. He said people had been in touch with him about the naming of the cemetery for years so it was quite surprising that nobody sent in any ideas!
Cathaoirleach Cllr Barbara-Anne Murphy suggested posting information in the vicinity informing people that they are seeking a name for the cemetery because people who visit regularly may not be aware of the campaign going on. “People who visit the graves of their loved ones on a regular basis may wish to have an input, but they may not be aware of it,” she added.
Mr Sweeney warned about the dangers that could occur in a public place, but it is the members choice!
“The fact that it is a burial ground for all faiths and none should mean moving away from saints. We shouldn’t be reflecting our faiths but the faiths that are buried in it,” concluded Cllr Murphy.
Mr Sweeney replied that there are 75 Muslim plots in that cemetery and the bye-laws reflect that it is a multi-denominational cemetery. Cllr Owens asked about going back to the people of the town for opinions, which was confirmed, but it would be appreciated to omit the saints’ names!
Cllr Codd-Nolan agreed because if you do name it after a saint “it is very much our own faith, and as someone who practices, I would be very cognisant of other people’s faiths as well.” Cllr Byrne seconded the proposal not to call the cemetery after a saint!
Cllr O’Rourke also added his support to omitting the word saint. “I am fundamentally aware that there will be people other denominations and other faiths buried there as well and I would go with something that coincides with everyone interred in that area.”