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Belfast family's anger over council burial mix-up

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City Cemetery where the issue with the grave occurred

City Cemetery where the issue with the grave occurred

City Cemetery where the issue with the grave occurred

A west Belfast family who were preparing to bury a loved one were wrongly informed that a stranger had been buried in a relative's grave.

Belfast City Council has apologised to the family after one of its officials incorrectly informed them that they could not bury their relative alongside their mother. The family was wrongly told that there was an additional person interred in the same plot since 1933.

A grieving family member spoke of her loved ones' trauma at being informed of this as they prepared to lay to rest her sister-in-law - her brother's wife.

The woman told the Andersonstown News: "My brother insisted they insisted that this was a new plot, only opened in 1993 when his mother-in-law died but the 'spokesperson' in City Hall was also insistent that they were right and their records are never wrong."

She added that her brother quickly realised that it was implausible that this could be the case, given his mother-in-law was interred in a grave which was less than 30 years old.

The woman added: "My poor, grieving brother who had just lost his wife just hours before was left totally wrung out and traumatised. I was the same.

"No apology from City Hall whatsoever, just a bit of a 'd'oh' moment and 'oh human error' - not good enough."

The error comes after the council was forced to issue a statement of apology to another west Belfast family after mistakenly writing to a dead woman asking her to carry out repairs to her own headstone.

The lady, who passed away in 2011, was buried in Belfast City Cemetery next to her husband.

Belfast City Council sent the letter to the family home asking the deceased to "contact a monumental sculptor" to "make the memorial safe".

The council has also since apologised in relation to the latest incident.

A spokesperson said: "We are sincerely sorry for any distress caused to the family. When the family approached us, they didn't have a grave number but informed us the grave was in City Cemetery.

"When we checked our records, three people had been buried in the grave at City Cemetery. It later transpired that the correct grave which belonged to the family of the deceased was actually in Glenalina Cemetery, which is adjoining.

"We appreciate the immense pressure on families when arranging the burial of a loved one and apologise for any upset that was caused by council during this difficult process."

Belfast Telegraph