PLANS for a new-style layout at Bray’s new cemetery in Ballywaltrim parish are causing fears of job losses in the local stone-cutting industry.
For it is planned that graves in the new cemetery will be marked by small stone plaques instead of the large headstones and slabs found in traditional cemeteries.
The Ballywaltrim cemetery is part of a countrywide trend worrying the stone industry, for which the production of traditional headstones is an important business.
Mr Tommy Coleman, a director of Stone Developments Ltd, which runs Ballybrew Quarries near Enniskerry, predicted the trend could have serious consequences for the industry if continued.
‘If the new layout in Ballywaltrim were to turn out to be a general trend, there is no doubt there could be a serious threat to jobs.
‘We are not worried about Ballywaltrim alone. There are several new cemeteries being laid out on the same lines around the country and it is a national problem,’ he said.
In the Bray area alone, there are at least three monumental sculptors who would find themselves facing the prospect of job losses should the present plans for Ballywaltrim cemetery go ahead.
The matter has been taken up with the Bray Urban Council where the decision to go for the new style cemetery in Ballywaltrim was taken on the grounds that it would be cheaper to maintain.
In a letter to the council, Mr Gerry Cotter of Stone Developments said his company viewed the proposal for a ‘ lawn type’ layout as a serious threat to employment both in the company and the monumental industry.
The letter asked the council to reconsider their decision over the matter.
As a compromise, Stone Development have suggested that the council should consider allowing upright memorials without kerbing in order to allow ease of maintenance.
Bray Urban Council chairperson Liz McManus said that the members had been made aware of the concern over Ballywaltrim cemetery.
She said she was particularly worried it could result in job losses and added that the matter is to be discussed by the council after the August recess. years but warned that traders were going to have to protect their property and this may mean shuttering the town.
A pharmacy owner has described how a brick was thrown through the window on Saturday, smashing the glass and damaging stock.
‘ The window was filled with little tiny slivers of glass so we had to discard everything. It was absolute vandalism and Saturday’s trading was ruined as a result.’