Almost 900 burials annually in Mid and East Antrim, councillors told
Up to 880 burials take place in Mid and East Antrim annually, the borough council’s Direct Services Committee has been told.
Councillors heard that burial capacity ranges from eight years at Larne (Greenland) Cemetery to 208 years in Ahoghill, at a remote meeting of the committee on Monday evening.
Land has been purchased in Islandmagee which will enable the expansion of the cemetery “in the next four to five years”.
The committee was also told that “progress has been made in identifying a site and progressing the purchase and development of that site in Carrickfergus to meet the longterm needs of that area”.
A new 104-acre site has been identified at Trooperslane Road outside the town.
The number of burials in the Larne area last year rose to 271 from 234 in 2019.
In 2018, there were 277, in 2017, 285, and 263 in 2016.
In Carrickfergus, there were 226 last year, 220, in 2019, 221 in 2018, 207 in 2017 and 216 in 2016.
Ballymena saw the biggest rise during 2020, the first year of the Covid pandemic with 384 deaths overall from 313 in 2019. Of these, 130 took place in Ballymena Cemetery, 155 in Ballee Cemetery, 20 in Ahoghill, 31 in Cullybackey, 16 in Kirkinriola, 15 in Clough, nine in Kirkhill and eight in Portglenone.
The number of deaths in Ballymena last year can also be compared to 331 in 2018, 347 in 2017 and 322 in 2016.
At this month’s meeting of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Mayor Councillor Peter Johnston reported that 53 people in the borough had died as a result of Covid during the previous month.
Speaking at the Direct Services Committee meeting, Coast Road Ulster Unionist Cllr Maureen Morrow noted that cremations have also been taking place.
She asked if it would be feasible to have a memorial area for people who have been cremated and a facility in which to place ashes in those graveyards which have “more years left”.
Philip Thompson, the council’s Operations Director, said that within the new Larne cemetery, which is to be located at Old Glenarm Road, an area could be provided in which memorial ashes could be placed.
“I would be happy to look at that,” he said.
The local authority has reported that from the start of 2021, there were 340 graves remaining in Larne Cemetery, 104 in Islandmagee Cemetery, 228 in Ballycarry New Cemetery, 175 in Glenarm Cemetery and 770 in Victoria Cemetery in Carrickfergus.
Burial capacity at Victoria Cemetery is now estimated at 12 years since a new section was added. Ballymena Cemetery has burial capacity for 26 years and Ballee, 50.
Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter
Click here to read: Larne’s new 15-acre cemetery ends 20-year search for suitable site
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