LOUTH County Councillor Tomás Sharkey has welcomed the news that non-coffined burials are to be allowed in this country from next month.
A piece of legislation from 1888 sets out regulations on burials and the regulation banning “uncoffined” burials will be overturned by Minister Phil Hogan.
Burials without coffins will be permitted from the 1 June this year.
“I have been working with the Muslim community for some time on this issue here in Louth,” Cllr Sharkey said this week.
“We believe there are approximately 4,000 muslims living in our small county. Up until this news they were unsure as to where they would be buried and how their families and friends could travel to their burial ceremonies and graves. Muslims are traditionally buried on their side, facing Mecca and covered in white cut cloth with no coffin. These are our neighbours, friends and colleagues.
Back in February 2011 I raised the issue of providing for Muslim burials in Louth cemeteries.
“My motion at that time called on the county council to make it a priority in social inclusion and cultural diversity initiatives to facilitate burial of members of the Muslim community in burial grounds in a manner that respects the beliefs and customs of that community.
“RTÉ made a documentary based on the issue at that time called “Meet the neighbours”.
“Since then, Dundalk Burial Board agreed in principle to making a section of Dowdallshill graveyard in Dundalk available for muslim burials.
“The 1888 regulation has been holding us back since that decision was made.
“Todays news is a huge relief and marks an important point in Ireland’s journey to being a multi-cultural society and I welcome that,” Cllr Sharkey said.