Friday, January 27, 2023

St Mary’s Cemetery in Athy where many people who died in the Workhouse and County Home are buried in unmarked graves

Kildare Co Council has contacted the HSE regarding ownership of St Mary’s Cemetery in Athy, local councillors have been informed.

At the January meeting of Athy Municipal District, Cllr Aoife Breslin sought an update regarding the ownership of the cemetery so they can progress the installation of a memorial to the women and children interred there.

The report issued in response to Cllr Breslin’s query went on to note that the HSE is aware of the proposed project and have indicated that they may issue a ‘letter of comfort’ so that works can commence.

‘The Community department will provide an update when available,’ it concluded.

Cllr Breslin’s frustration was evident at the meeting, where she said they still haven’t received the letter from the HSE and that she thinks it’s “absolutely disgraceful.” Surely, she said, their legal department can type up a letter.

Cllr Breslin noted that people faced a dreadful time in the mother and baby home in Athy, adding that people want to bring closure to their lives and this is one way.

She asked that it’s kept on the progress report and said it’s not good enough they’re waiting two years for a letter.

The meeting also heard that the chief executive, Sonya Kavanagh, has intervened to get a resolution on this.

When contacted for comment, a spokesperson for Dublin South, Kildare & West Wicklow Community Healthcare said: “HSE legal is reviewing title evidence and conducting the necessary searches to confirm the graveyard (St Mary’s Famine Graveyard) in Athy, Co Kildare is in fact owned by the HSE.

‘HSE legal are unable to put an exact timeline on the process given the limited information currently on hand. The site is not currently registered.

‘Dublin South, Kildare, & West Wicklow has been engaged in this topic with public representatives at the Regional Health Forum [and] will be in a position to respond to councillors upon completion of the review by HSE legal.’

By Conor Forrest
Contact Newsdesk: 045 432147

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