Belfast Telegraph

Memorial demanded for thousands of babies interred at Belfast City Cemetery

By Staff Reporter

Calls have been made for a memorial to be erected beside the baby plot at Belfast City Cemetery.

It was the burying place for nearly 8,000 babies which did not live long after birth or were stillborn between 1945 and 1996.

Agnes Close, whose baby son Maxwell was buried there, has been visiting the plot in west Belfast since her boy died more than 42 years ago.

She said that thousands of lives were going unrecognised.

"Walking through the cemetery, there are many magnificent and elaborate memorials to prominent families and great industrialists of Belfast," said Ms Close.

"However this small plot, right at the back of the cemetery, is the resting place of thousands of babies and remains unmarked. There isn't any memorial to them, just small mementoes from mums, dads and family members.

"We feel strongly that all the babies should be remembered by the placing of a permanent memorial at the plot," she said.

The plot, which is at the back of the Falls Road cemetery, is marked by trees.

It is the resting place of 7,893 babies.

It is 130ft by 165ft and a plot of the same size in the cemetery would accommodate 1,760 adult burials.

DUP Assembly member William Humphrey said that he would push for a memorial to provide official recognition of the purpose of the plot. "In those days it was common practice that the remains were taken away and family members were not present for burials which took place in unmarked graves," he said.

"For many parents this was an impediment to their grieving process and caused a lack of closure.

"Over the years many families have added small memorials at the plot in memory of their children."

The burial plot was used for babies who died shortly after birth and also for stillbirths coming from the Jubilee Maternity Hospital, from other maternity hospitals and home births, as well as infants who died aged a few months.

There are around 40 babies buried in each grave.

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