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Priest bans refreshments from graveyards 02.12.13

A PARISH priest has told mourners they cannot consume food and drink while visiting their dead relatives in local cemeteries.
Fr John Walsh also warned Buncrana parishioners he may remove large gaudy headstones, statues and trinkets from plots if they do not conform to strict new graveyard rules.
Massgoers were yesterday informed that 25-year old rules governing the two local cemeteries have been revised to account for ever-decreasing capacity and new American-style lawn graves.
They were also told to respect the sanctity of the cemetery by not eating or drinking or talking loudly within the grounds.
"Visitors must observe that the cemeteries are sacred places and act accordingly, avoiding any loud or boisterous talking, loitering on the grounds or in any of the buildings, bringing refreshments into the cemeteries or consuming them on the grounds," said Fr Walsh yesterday.
Parish priest Fr John Walsh who has introduced new graveyard rules in Buncrana.
Parishioners were also advised not to close any deal with monumental sculptors without first obtaining prior approval for their chosen memorial.
“We can’t be having headstones in the shape of Transit vans and all sorts. People should check before they spend thousands on the wrong one. It will be a saving for them in the long run,” Fr Walsh added.
The maximum height of headstones at the parish's two cemeteries in Cockhill and Desertegney has now been set at 4 feet (1.22 metres) with an exception for Celtic crosses that can rise to 8 feet (2.44 metres). Fr Walsh reminded people that double-width graves are not available while single graves are set at 8 feet x 4 feet with a maximum depth for two interments - except where more are requested.
"The parish reserves the right to prohibit the erection of any monument, considered as inappropriate either in material, workmanship or location or which might interfere with the general effect or obstruct any principal view of the cemeteries,” he said.
Funeral directors and gravediggers will be furnished with the revised regulations.
The town's largest graveyard - St Mary's, Cockhill - is a sprawling cemetery with headstones of every shape and size dating back 150 years. The parish has promoted grass-covered plots since 1989, to allow for ease of maintenance and upkeep. Local residents do not have to pay for plots but non-residents can request a plot at Derry city prices.
Meanwhile, local Catholics have been informed that they can no longer erect kerbstones, kneel-stones, surrounds, fences or scatter gravel on new plots. Any new memorial or other item that does not conform may be removed without notice. Existing headstones that breach the height limit will not be removed, Fr Walsh confirmed. He said all graves should be kept tidy.
"Vases, flowers, plants, trees, ornaments of any description, gravel and kerbstones are not permitted outside the area of the headstone. Any item which obstructs mowing will be removed, including items placed on the headstone plinth that project beyond the plinth." Vendors and advertising hoardings are also banned in Cockhill and Desertegney cemeteries.
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