Spotlight to stay on Portadown’s Kernan Cemetery problems, pledge councillors

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Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council officers have been warned by two Portadown councillors that they will raise the problems at Kernan Cemetery at every opportunity until they are fixed.

In line with the council’s policy, section C of the cemetery, which opened in 2018, uses a plastic mesh as walkway instead of a solid footpath.

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

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Speaking at the council’s monthly meeting, DUP Councillor Darryn Causby thanked the local authority’s head of estates and asset management, Jonathan Hayes for arranging a recent site visit open to councillors, consultants and the wider department to discuss the best way to develop a network of paths in section C of the cemetery.

Kernan Cemetery, Portadown. Picture: GoogleKernan Cemetery, Portadown. Picture: Google
Kernan Cemetery, Portadown. Picture: Google

However, he also made it clear that he would ensure the council’s officer team complete the work required in a timely manner.

“Obviously this has taken some time to go through the process but I just want to put on record my thanks to Jonathan Hayes who has taken this issue by the scruff of the neck to move it as fast as we can,” said Cllr Causby.

“I want to thank him for coordinating the meeting with the consultants, the wider department and elected members last week to progress this.

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“I also want to say again that I intend to raise the issue of Kernan Cemetery at every single committee meeting and appropriate council meeting to make sure we do progress the issue in a timely fashion so that timescales are not missed on this matter.”

UUP councillor Julie Flaherty said she was in agreement with Cllr Causby and warned that she too would raise the issue at every possible opportunity.

“I want to echo Cllr Causby’s remarks about the site visit,” said Cllr Flaherty.

“It was very useful in a number of ways. I am quite familiar with the site and commend the staff, who are working on it on a daily basis, for trying so hard.

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“When the site visit ended and members dispersed I was then approached by two ladies who were visiting the grave and had seen us at that site visit. They were too afraid to come over to us but that just absolutely cemented in me that we have got to see this through.

“I don’t want to be ‘door-stepped’ about this issue constantly when I am at this cemetery for a different reason and that is what is happening to me.

“I am sorry to be personal about it but I am a little confused about the timescales of this so along with Cllr Causby I also will be raising this at every opportunity.

“You will be hearing a lot about this between Cllr Causby and myself, I assure you.”