Author Topic: ANYONE WITH A FAMILY GRAVE IN THE BELFAST AREA - you need to be aware of this  (Read 1960 times)

James James

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I'll post the relevant links for this below and you can read the specifics for yourselves.

Starting in April 2016 Belfast City Council Cemeteries Department will carry out a safety inspection of the memorials in the cemeteries which they administer, starting with Balmoral Cemetery.

It is the responsibility of the owner of the grave to either maintain the memorial in a safe condition at their own expense, or to reimburse the council for carrying out any necessary remedial work on behalf of the owner.

They don't though say if they will also accept payment from non owners of a particular grave.

As part of their inspection programme, if the current owner of a grave or memorial which requires remedial work is known,  they will notify the owner in writing by post, of the work that is required to be done.

They will write twice, 10 days after the inspection, and if no reply is received they will write again 2 months after the inspection.

If no reply is received 6 months after the inspection they will carry out work to make the memorial permanently safe.

This may involve...

1) Burying the memorial in the ground up to a depth of one quarter of it's height

2) Laying the memorial flat

3) In extreme cases, removing the memorial and placing it in storage.

4) In addition, and presumably this would only apply in the case of a more recent memorial, if a memorial is found to have been unauthorised, it will be removed and placed in storage, and if it hasn't been claimed after 6 months it will be destroyed.

The link below is a pdf format text document file which can be viewed online and which can also be downloaded. It can also be printed, either online or offline.

Section 4 of that document explains the inspection programme in detail.Belfast City Council Memorial Management Policy and Belfast Code of Memorial Safe Working Practice

This is the contact details for Belfast City Council Cemeteries Department

This is their list of Cemetery fees.


I know what I intend to do in relation to this. My family has an ancestral family grave in one of those cemeteries.

The last and most recent burial in that grave  was in the 1950's and the spouse and children of that person are now deceased and I have no idea who, if anyone, now owns the grave.

I intend to write to the Cemeteries Department and inform them that if that grave or memorial is found to require remedial work then I wish to be informed and I will pay for the work to be done.


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Hi, Is this only for City Cemetery? Does it include Milltown Cemetery as well. Kathleen
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James James

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Kathleen, the information in the above text and links already answers your question.

No, it does not apply to Milltown cemetery, because that cemetery is neither owned nor administered by Belfast City Council.

Nevertheless, that inspection and remedial policy concerns public safety in respect of the stability of headstones and memorials, so Milltown may well have a similar policy of it's own, and indeed although Belfast City Council isn't directly responsible for the maintenance of Milltown Cemetery, the Council may well have a public safety responsibility in respect of Milltown, and they may have legal powers to require Milltown to take similar safety and remedial precautions.

The way to find out about that is to contact the Milltown Cemetery office and ask them.

The address is... Milltown Cemetery, 546 Falls Rd, Belfast, BT126EQ

The phone number is  028 9061 3972

Old headstones and memorials can become unstable over time, in the UK today it is a common local authority requirement that when installing new headstones a ground anchor must also be installed which anchors the headstone securely and prevents it from becoming unstable over time, and in the case of existing headstones which have become unstable, the local Council or cemetery owner will often render them safe by laying them flat.