Cemetery petition response ‘humbling’

Derek McCabry
Derek McCabry

A NEWTOWNABBEY man has described the massive response to his online petition against council plans to build a cemetery in the Valley Park as “humbling”.

Thousands have signed Derek McCabry’s petition against the council’s proposals to build an 18-acre cemetery in the Valley Park, and sited beside the Children’s Hospice.

Over 3,000 people have so far added their name to the petition. Of those that have supported the petition some are from different parts of the UK, while others are regular park users or have made use of the facilities within the Horizon House hospice.

Signatories have described the plans for a burial ground within the 65-acre O’Neill Road park as “heartless”.

Deena Nimick, from Carrick, wrote: “My six-year-old daughter died in this hospice.

“During the last few months of her life, visits there enabled us to build some very special memories.

“Creating a super cemetery landscape outside a children’s hospice is heartless.

“Shame on Newtownabbey Borough Council for even considering this as a viable option.”

Local man Derek McCabry started the petition as he felt the proposals were “morally wrong” and he has thanked those who have supported it.

The 53-year-old grandfather said: “It is truly humbling to know that so many care.

“But I cannot take any real individual credit for this because there are many others who have played a part.

“I will be speaking to people with more experience than I about how to consolidate and use all this effectively [to continue the campaign].”

The Children’s Hospice has said proposals to build a cemetery at the proposed location could “considerably impact on its service” and has called on the council to look for alternative sites.

Newtownabbey Borough Council has stressed that the proposals are still in the early stages and that it will undertake a full consultation exercise with all key stakeholders, residents and park users should the proposals to develop the cemetery be progressed.

It has said attempts to find other locations over the years to address the fast decreasing amount of burial space in Carnmoney Cemetery have proved fruitless.

Meanwhile, Derek’s ‘Stop the super cemetery at Valley Park’ petition can be found at www.change.org/petitions