Belfast Telegraph

Calls for cremation and burials for children in Belfast to be free

By Andrew Madden, Local Democracy Reporter

A Belfast City councillor has submitted a motion calling for costs to be waived for the burial and cremation of children.

The motion was submitted by Ulster Unionist Councillor Chris McGimpsey and follows the introduction of the Children’s Funeral Fund in England earlier this month.

Under the scheme, parents will no longer have to meet the costs of burials or cremations, which can run into the hundreds of pounds.

All fees will be waived by all local authorities and met instead by government funding.

Councillor McGimpsey spoke of his colleague, Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Councillor Julie Flaherty, who lost her son Jake in 2013 aged just two years old.

“You could not help but be moved by the words of my colleague Julie Flaherty from Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon (ABC) Council in relation to the Children's Funeral Fund,” he said.

“Julie has endured the personal pain of loss of a child and if we as elected representatives can do anything to help parents at a time of intense grief, then we should do it.

“It’s the right thing to do, we have the power to do it and we should get on with it.”

Councillor McGimpsey said that, in the absence of a functioning Executive at Stormont, “I believe we should do what we can at local government level”.

“I have submitted a motion to Belfast City Council calling for charges and costs relating to the burial and cremation of children up to the age of eighteen to be waived,” he added,

“I hope that this will be on the agenda for the next council meeting.”

The motion will be seconded by Deputy Lord Mayor Councillor Sonia Copeland.

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