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Anguish as mother's grave is flooded days after she is laid to rest in Belfast's Roselawn cemetery

By Rebecca Black

Published 07/05/2015

Belfast City Council is responsible for Roselawn Crematorium
Belfast City Council is responsible for Roselawn Crematorium

A Belfast woman has spoken about having nightmares after her mother's grave was flooded just days after she was laid to rest.

Jacqueline McCullough's mother Minnie died suddenly at the end of April at the age of 64, and was laid to rest at Roselawn Cemetery last week.

Heavy rain at the weekend caused flooding to her grave and 11 others.

Mrs McCullough said it has added to the trauma of dealing with her mother's death.

"I can just picture my mum in her coffin with water coming in," she said.

"It's not a nice vision or thought. To see all the graves like pools is not a vision you can get out of your head. You can't grieve properly because you're worrying about what state the grave is in."

Mrs McCullough worked herself to try and protect her mother's grave. She brought woodchip to lay on the plot to try and soak up some of the water.

She is critical of Belfast City Council, which runs the cemetery.

"You pay your money, you bury your loved one and at the end of the day you expect them to have some respect for families," she said.

"The council needs to have a plan to deal with heavy rain."

A spokeswoman for the council said work had been carried out to the damaged grave.

"The heavy rain over the weekend led to some subsidence at this grave and parks staff have now restored the grave by topping it with clay," she said.

"The clay will be allowed to settle for a period before topsoil can be applied to the grave.

"We would appeal to the family to get in touch with cemetery staff if they have concerns."

East Belfast woman Charlene Murray-McCabe had a similar experience at Roselawn several years ago after burying her baby daughter Myla.

"I will never forgot the day my sister and I went to visit Myla and the same thing had happened, I just stood and cried. All the thoughts that went through my head were horrible," she said.

"We went straight home and got buckets and went back to clear it out. It took ages but there was no way we were leaving until all the water was gone.

"Unfortunately we can't stop the rain, but you would think in this day and age there would be a pump of some sort that could be used to drain the water away, and save both newly and older bereaved families the stress of having to see this."

Factfile

Roselawn Cemetery is the main burying ground for the city of Belfast and surrounding area.

Last summer the council bought more land at Roselawn to provide graves for residents as pressure on the city's burial grounds reached crisis levels. The council is responsible for eight cemeteries yet burials can take place at only three, while new graves can only be bought at one - Roselawn.

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