Council to give green light for crematorium to be built in Omagh
The west of Northern Ireland is in line to get its first crematorium.
Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is expected to rubber-stamp plans for the facility when it meets next week.
At present the province's only crematorium is at Roselawn in east Belfast.
Mourners from Fermanagh are forced to travel more than 100 miles to the city to cremate a loved one.
A spokesman for the council said that the crematorium with a chapel of rest could be developed at Greenhill Cemetery on Omagh's Gortin Road.
In the last two years there have been 6,629 cremations at Roselawn.
Belfast City Council is currently considering plans to extend its cremation facilities to relieve pressure on Roselawn.
There are also plans to build a £6m crematorium in Newtownabbey, although there have been objections from residents living close to the proposed site.
A statement from Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council said: "The council obtained outline planning permission for the crematorium development in 2015.
"A procurement process has since been initiated and is nearing completion."
While plans to build a crematorium in Moira were given the go-ahead in 2012, work has yet to begin.
Most families in Northern Ireland still opt for burial for their loved ones, but cremation is growing in popularity.
Hugh Dougal of the National Association of Funeral Directors said more crematorium services were "badly needed".
Mr Dougal, who owns undertakers O'Kane's, said the waiting list to be cremated was rising.
"To receive a place in the crematorium is difficult - you could be waiting up to four days," he said.
"The biggest stumbling block to building another facility is that people don't want one near them.
"Roselawn was built in the 1960s and they haven't developed further from that.
"It's becoming very popular because they are running out of burial grounds.
"If there were more facilities here then more people would use it. There's some people going for cremation, and when they find they can't get a slot for four days they will go for burial.
"The waiting list has gone up and has been for some time. The facility is badly needed."
However, a spokesman for Belfast City Council said that there were no significant delays in applying for a slot.