Apology over burial plot bill sent to bereaved Mayo family

A FAMILY who received a letter about a burial plot fee, posted a day before a loved one was laid to rest, is to receive an apology from Mayo County Council.

The need to follow a protocol that such correspondence should issue to undertakers, not bereaved families, was highlighted when the matter was raised at the monthly meeting of the local authority yesterday (Monday).

The bill was posted to the bereaved family the day before their son was buried, Councillor Mark Duffy said, a move he branded as 'completely insensitive'.

The matter arose following the death of a 28-year-old man, whose family requested a triple burial plot that cost €1,300.

The deceased was laid to rest on August 7 last, with the bill, that required to be 'executed in full', being posted the previous day, and arriving on August 9.

The bill for the plot was paid for by the undertaker on August 8.

Their reaction, said Councillor Duffy, was 'disgust, hurt and anger'. Their wish was that this would be discussed at the council meeting to ensure it would not happen to any other family.

All correspondence concerning cemetery plots should be conducted between the council and undertakers, they said.

Councillor Duffy said a letter of apology should be sent by Mayo County Council to the family, a call supported by his Ballina area colleagues, who also agreed with the family's call that bills should be dealt with through undertakers, not sent to bereaved people's homes.

He hoped this would be a lesson that no other family would have to go through this again.

Councillor Michael Loftus said the letter was a disgrace and a protocol had to be put in place.

And he went further in terms of an apology - the manager should ring the family, talk to them, give an explanation and apologise.

Director of services John Condon, who did not know the exact details of the letter that issued, said he would look into the matter.

He also said he was happy to make a phone call to the family as requested.