Councils Vote to Waive Burial Fees For Children

In Northern Ireland, two more councils have voted to get rid of burial costs for children, according to a BBC story earlier this month.

Mid and East Antrim and Newry, Mourne and Down Councils join Belfast City Council and Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Councils in voting for a form of fee reduction. A scheme introduced in England in March of this year has extended the same waiver.

Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council voted unanimously in favour of waiving part of the burial fee for parents in the area who’ve lost a child. Councillors agreed to cover the £52 cost of opening a grave at all cemeteries the council owns.

Belfast City Council voted for a similar move after the proposal was brought by UUP councillor, Julie Flaherty, who lost her two-year-old boy, Jake, in 2015.

UUP also brought the proposal to Mid and East Antrim Council via Councillor Stephen Nicholl. He said the vote served as a temporary measure until the introduction of a regional initiative, which can’t be resolved until power sharing is restored.

His motion was supported unanimously, and the council agreed to waive all costs associated with providing graves doe children under the age of eighteen.

Paul Reid, the mayor of Mid and East Antrim, said parents shouldn’t be denied the right to bury their own children in a dignified, proper way. In such tragic circumstances, the burden of cost shouldn’t be added.

Councillor Lindsay Millar seconded the motion, saying: “With the lack of a functioning regional government, local councils have a new opportunity to make a lasting impact on the lives of our residents.

“This motion will not cause a great expenditure to the council but will truly make a difference to parents whose lives have been shattered by the death of a child, and I am glad our council has unanimously agreed to this.”

Maeve Mullin, Officer Manager and senior researcher for Finders International in Ireland, added: “This is welcome news. A child dying is the worst thing that can happen to a parent. I’m pleased that parents in parts of Northern Ireland will not have to face some or all of the costs associated with funerals. I’m sure residents in the relevant areas will