Residents of a South Dublin community have expressed anger at plans to run a cycle path through a local cemetery where their loved ones are buried.
ún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council has submitted a proposal for improved cycling infrastructure to run through the cemetery as part of the Deansgrange cycle route proposed under the Active School Travel scheme.
Aoife O’Connor’s newborn daughter Emily sadly died in 2010 and was buried in Deansgrange Cemetery.
Ms O’Connor said she and her husband were shocked when they received the “insensitive” proposal.
The 43-year-old, from Blackrock, said there was also a proposal to lower the height of the cemetery wall below the level of the headstone for “passive surveillance”.
“When we received the proposal we were absolutely shocked and very upset by it. Of course when Emily died we were devastated,” she told Independent.ie.
“She was our first born and then we had the horrific task of deciding where to bury her and we chose the garden and buried her by the old wall because she was one of the first to go in so we have one Place against the beautiful old granite wall.
“It was always in a really peaceful and very quiet place and I would sit there for hours and then leave every day and you might not see anyone but you could hear the outside world and you had your own time in there.
“I have two other children, so I understand the need to protect children in relation to bike lanes, but crossing a cemetery is not really a place to bike, it is not a playground.
“It’s a place we go to mourn our loved ones and I still can’t get my head around it.”
Philip Lecane’s wife Kate died in November 2020 at the age of 65 after a short illness. She was a retired nurse and midwife.
Mr Lecane, 69, said this proposal was an “invasion” of people’s grief. He said: “When I buried Kate there I did so believing it was a peaceful environment. We all grieve, and we could do without such things,” he said.
“When you’re visiting the grave of a loved one, you don’t want to be careful not to get run over by a cyclist. Aside from anything else that has us concerned about security, their suggestion is to open these 24 hours a day.
“Graves could be damaged and we are concerned about that too. It is a very emotional topic for us.”
Mr Lecane added: “We appeal to the Council, paraphrasing the words of William Butler Yeats: ‘Tread gently because you tread on our dreams.’
Susan McGarvey’s son Callum, who tragically died in 2017 at the age of 12, is also buried in The Garden area of the cemetery.
Ms McGarvey, 45, from Blackrock, started an online petition against the proposal which has garnered over 2,300 signatures.
“I’m devastated by the whole thing, and I just find it so disrespectful and disrespectful, it’s shocking,” she said.
“I come here regularly, most days, and if these proposals go ahead there’s a nice big wall that’s going to be torn down and they want to build a bike path on the other side of the tomb.
“It’s not a park, it’s a cemetery where people go to mourn and to have a quiet chat with their loved ones, and I just don’t think a cemetery should be allowed to do that.”
A spokesman for Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council said the council was “not proposing a dedicated cycle lane in the cemetery”.
The spokesman said the proposal to lower the wall was included to “improve passive surveillance at the cemetery and increase user safety”.
“We propose better access to the existing area where driving, cycling and walking is an established use,” the spokesman said.
“This option was proposed after almost two years of public engagements during which we evaluated eight different options. The purpose of this scheme is to provide access to over 65 schools in the county and providing a safe route along the Deansgrange Road is a crucial element.
“It is not proposed to restrict access to certain areas or to set certain areas only for the cycle.
“We have initiated a consultation process that will be open for submissions until October 20th. The route and schema details are only suggested at this stage.
“We also set up a series of focus groups where users had the opportunity to provide their feedback.”
https://www.independent.ie/news/its-an-invasion-of-our-grief-families-object-to-cycle-path-through-deansgrange-cemetery-42047535.html ‘It’s an invasion of our grief’ – families protest the cycle path through Deansgrange Cemetery