Grave problem for islanders as Mull runs out of cemetery space

Mull is running out of cemetary space. Picture: Geograph
Mull is running out of cemetary space. Picture: Geograph
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Islanders are being told they will have to die before the local council will sell a plot in which they can be buried.

Cemetery space on Mull is now so tight that the practice of pre-buying final resting places has been banned.

Councillor Mary-Jean Devon told a meeting of Argyll and Bute Council’s Oban, Lorn and the Isles area committee that the crisis has been looming for years.

Now islanders are not being afforded the peace of mind of sparing their next of kin unnecessary worry by getting their funeral plans in order before they die.

Ms Devon said: “People are really concerned that they are not going to have a grave to be buried in.

“You can’t buy in Tobermory, Salen, Dervaig and Calgary. “

The independent Mull councillor added: “I have been trying for 18 months to get something done, I have been asking questions for a long time, but have got no answer.

“Fionnphort cemetery is full and they can’t expand that one, but they can expand the others.”

Ms Devon added: “We need to do something out of consideration and respect for people, particularly elderly people.

“There have been people diagnosed with a terminal illness and they couldn’t buy a lair to be buried in, in their own island.

“That was last year and we got it sorted eventually, but it was so distressing for the family that people have to fight for a lair.”

Mull undertaker Billy McClymont said: “There is a moratorium on Mull, you can’t buy a lair on Mull unless you are dead. It’s pretty bad, they are not allowing people to buy them.

“Tobermory is down to nine lairs now, for a town the size of Tobermory, with 800 to 900 people, to only have nine graves available is pretty severe.

“You could use them in a couple of months, what are they going to do then?”

Mull is the second largest island in the Inner Hebrides and Mr McClymont said: “Calgary cemetery is full and has been like that for years but if you want to be buried in one part of Mull, you don’t want to be buried miles away, you want to be buried in the 
cemetery where your family are.”

An Argyll and Bute Council spokesman said: “A feasibility study is currently under way to establish how an expansion of the cemetery at Beadoun near Tobermory could be carried out.

“The process is in the early stages and any expansion would depend on capital funds being available.”