Closing time causes frustration

By Francesca Ryan

Milltown Cemetery’s new closing time is causing some frustration in the community.Several people contacted the Andersonstown News to express concern over the new closing time of 3.30pm.  While the pedestrian entrance remains open, cars will have to vacate the site by 3.30pm every  day.

One caller said she is no longer able to visit her granny’s grave.

“My granny died seven months ago and after work I try to visit her grave and say a wee prayer,” she said.  “I don’t go every day but most days I do because I’m passing and it’s easy to drive in and stop for a prayer.

“Now it’s closing at 3.30pm and I don’t even get out of work until 5pm.  If I want to go in, I will have to park outside the graveyard and then walk down the back.  It’s just totally inconvenient, not just for me but for anyone with a relative buried there.”

Local Sinn Féin Councillor Caoimhín Mac Giolla Mhín said he too has been fielding complaints.

“A number of constituents have approached me saying they are concerned the cemetery is closing early,” he said.  “While everyone seemed pleased it would be closed at a certain time of night to stop vandalism, 3.30pm in the afternoon seems to be a little but early.

“I think there should have been some more consultation on the time. We would like to think that the Milltown Cemetery management would review this decision when the brighter nights come in.”

Fr Martin Graham, who runs Milltown for the Diocese of Down and Connor, explained that the closing time will be reviewed.

“This new closing time is only for the winter,” he said.  “The reason is that the person taking on the responsibility of locking the gates wants staff to be around when they lock up in case they face any difficulties.

“We can assure anyone concerned that in the spring and summer the cemetery will indeed be open later,” added Fr Graham.

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