Northern Ireland news

Call for burial and cremation costs for children to be waived

Milltown cemetery in west Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann
Andrew Madden

A Belfast councillor has added his voice to calls for the costs of burials and cremations of children to be waived.

A motion has been submitted to the city council by Ulster Unionist Chris McGimpsey following the introduction this month of the Children's Funeral Fund in England.

Under the scheme, fees for burials or cremations will be waived by local authorities and met by government funding.

Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon councillor Julie Flaherty, whose son Jake died aged two in 2013, called this week for it to be extended to Northern Ireland.

The Ulster Unionist proposed that her council "set a marker" for others "by waiving at this stage the cost of opening a grave only for those under 18 years as a gesture of goodwill at a difficult time in any parents' lives".

Mr McGimpsey said: “Julie has endured the personal pain of loss of a child and if we as elected representatives can do anything to help parents at a time of intense grief, then we should do it.

“It's the right thing to do, we have the power to do it and we should get on with it.”

Mr McGimpsey added that in the absence of a functioning executive at Stormont “I believe we should do what we can at local government level”.

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Northern Ireland news