Families left 'traumatised' after a woman was buried in the wrong plot alongside another woman who died last year

TWO families around Listowel and north Kerry have been left traumatised after an apparent error by Kerry County Council led to a woman being buried in the wrong plot alongside another woman who died early last year.

The woman has been exhumed from Listowel’s main cemetery where the error was made.

Council sources say a formal apology is being issued to the families and they have been liaising with both families

However a person close to both families and familiar with the mix-up said the families have been left deeply hurt by the way the matter was dealt with by the county council.

It is felt locally that the error has added to the grief of those mourning the loss of their loved ones and that the council should have owned up to their error straight away.

“They have still not received a written apology,” said a respected Listowel local who did wish to be named.

“The whole thing has added to the families’ grief,” the local said.

Radio Kerry on Monday reported that Kerry County Council had carried out an exhumation and reburial of remains at St John Paul II cemetery in Listowel.

The cemetery in Listowel was closed to the public on Friday morning while the exhumation and reburial took place.

Officials from the council as well as environmental health officers from the HSE were present as required by legislation.

The legislation governing exhumations in Ireland set out in Section 46 of the Local Government Sanitary Services Act 1948 and the Second Schedule of the Local Government Act, 1994.

Grave plots are sold only when a death has taken place and it is understood that last March three plots were bought by a family on the death of a woman in her sixties.

However, over a fortnight ago when the husband of the deceased woman arrived to visit the grave of his loved one, a woman who was originally from Listowel, but who has been living elsewhere in north Kerry had been buried in the plot adjoining his wife.

It is understood the same plot was sold twice by the council in error.

The January burial has now been exhumed and buried elsewhere in the cemetery.

However, locally, the council is coming under criticism for its handling of the situation and for not straight away offering an open apology to both families.

“Both these families are grieving they are at a very early stage of handling grief. For a body as big as Kerry County Council to deal with families who are so traumatised in this way is not on,” the source said.

The council also made no comment on what action, if any, is being taken to establish what went wrong in this instance or to review its procedures at the 154 local authority cemeteries in the county.

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