‘Undertakers call for weekend burials’

A CALL has been made for Newtownabbey Borough Council to extend its burial services to Saturdays and Sundays.

At Monday’s Policy and Governance Committee meeting alderman Paul Girvan said representations had been made to him by local undertakers urging the council to consider facilitating burials at the weekend.

He made the statement while the committee discussed proposals to change the operating hours of the council’s cemeteries and registrations departments. Both services are to open Monday to Friday from 9pm to 4pm and operate throughout lunch.

Alderman Girvan said: “Weekend burials have been the norm in rural councils for some time and while I am not asking for this service a number of undertakers have approached me about the council facilitating burials on the weekends.

“I would ask the council to consider the additional costs of carrying out burials on a Saturday and Sunday and possibly levy an additional charge for them to take place on a weekend.

“I realise staff are already working long hours, but perhaps in consultation with them we could consider job share and flexibility options to look at providing this service.”

Council chief executive Jacqui Dixon said she would look into the matter and prepare a report for councillors at a future meeting.