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Grieving families angry at mound of rubbish by graves at Belfast's Roselawn cemetery

By Lesley Houston

Published 19/06/2015

The overflowing bin and rubbish at Roselawn, just feet from headstones
The overflowing bin and rubbish at Roselawn, just feet from headstones
‘Disrespectful’: Kirsty Hall

Two sisters mourning their late mother are being forced to remember her amid a sea of rubbish at Belfast's Roselawn cemetery.

The women said during recent visits to the grave of their mother and uncle they have found decaying wreaths, wooden panels and other rubbish spilling out over a packed, full-sized wheelie bin within feet of their relatives' gravestone.

Pauline Watson and her sister Ethel Mahood said their complaints to staff have been heeded in the past but that their graveside visits have been blighted by a mountain of rubbish, which has been growing steadily now for three weeks without being cleared.

Pauline's daughter Kirsty Hall (28), who accompanies her mum weekly to visit the grave of her grandmother Joan Lally, who died four years ago aged 83, said the situation was "disrespectful".

Belfast City Council has apologised "profusely" to the family, from the Finaghy area, and has pledged to monitor the state of the bin in future.

Kirsty said her grandmother was laid to rest in a family plot already occupied by an uncle who was buried approximately 20 years ago.

She said that previously they never witnessed any kind of litter problem and that the issue with the bin had only surfaced within the past 18 months.

"My mum and my aunt find it very upsetting when they go and see all that rubbish and it just seems very disrespectful," she said.

"All that wood has been sitting there for three weeks now and the pile of rubbish is just getting bigger and bigger.

"We have complained numerous times and when you complain they empty the bin and then forget about it all over again," she said.

Mrs Lally's headstone is located about two rows away from the site of the rubbish.

The family said the situation was in stark contrast to the rest of the large city cemetery.

"The rest of the graveyard is sitting immaculately, but because section V is hidden it's used as a dumping ground," Kirsty said.

"My mum and aunt find it very difficult to visit my grandmother's grave as it is.

"But when they are greeted with this, it is a disgrace," she added.

"When it's hot there would be a smell coming from it too."

Pauline added: "It's awful. You wouldn't see another bin round the place because it's down out of the way.

"It's not right."

Yesterday a Belfast City Council spokesman apologised to the family on behalf of the cemetery.

"We apologise profusely and will attend to this immediately," he said.

"Usage of this bin will also be carefully monitored in future to ensure that any problem with overflow is identified and dealt with as quickly as possible."

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