Lady Gaga blasts over tannoy on Cemetery Sunday

By Ciara Quinn

GRIEVING families attending Cemetery Sunday at the City Cemetery have spoken of their shock after Lady Gaga was played over the PA system as they prepared for the blessing of the graves.

This week the Diocese of Down and Connor said sorry after those who had come to the City to pay their respects to loved ones at the annual event on Sunday past had to listen to pop music over the tannoy for a half-hour before the ceremony got under way.

The Andersonstown News received a number of calls from upset and angry callers first thing on Monday morning, claiming that the solemn atmosphere that normally prevails on Cemetery Sunday had been shattered by the blasting of Lady Gaga as relatives tended family graves, waiting for the prayers to begin.

Cemetery Sunday at the City has grown enormously in popularity over the years, with heavy traffic on the Falls as families from all over Ireland and beyond converge on the graveyard for the prayers and blessings.

One caller, who asked not to be named, said there was consternation among the relatives as pop music filled the cemetery air.

“I actually couldn’t believe what I was hearing on Sunday,” she said. “Myself and my granddaughter had gone for the blessing of the graves and for a good half an hour we could hear Lady Gaga coming through the speakers.

“For many people there it was their first time down at the ceremony, a very emotional time, so God knows how they felt.”

Another relative said: “People were really angry, really, really annoyed by what they were hearing. Instead of hymns or instrumentals we had to listen to inappropriate lyrics.

“A graveyard is a place of respect, it’s not the place for that and we thought someone would have said sorry before or after the service, but no-one did. There was no apology.”

Father Edward McGee of the Diocese of Down and Connor told the Andersonstown News: “The Diocese of Down and Connor has received complaints regarding the service held last Sunday afternoon at Belfast City Cemetery.

“We apologise to anyone who, because of difficulties with the sound system, could not follow or hear the prayers in parts of the cemetery and for any offence caused by interference resulting in intermittent music from local radio stations coming across over the sound system.

“The Diocese is confident that these criticisms will be acted upon by those who organise the cemetery service to ensure that the same situation is not repeated in the future,” added Fr McGee.

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