Northern Ireland

Omagh undertaker's hearse given ticket while coffin is inside

An undertaker's hearse was ticketed in Omagh despite containing a coffin and being parked near a church (file pic)
An undertaker's hearse was ticketed in Omagh despite containing a coffin and being parked near a church (file pic) An undertaker's hearse was ticketed in Omagh despite containing a coffin and being parked near a church (file pic)

An Omagh undertaker has strongly criticised the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) after losing an appeal against a parking ticket that was issued for his hearse while it contained a coffin.

According to a report from The Belfast Telegraph, Brian Donnelly said it was "disgraceful" and "really insensitive" that a traffic warden slapped a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) on the vehicle despite it being parked just yards from his newly opened funeral home premises on George's Street in Omagh.

"The coffin was in the back of the hearse, so it's not like it was parked up with nothing in it," he said.

Although the casket was empty at the time the £90 fine was issued, Mr Donnelly pointed out the warden would not have known that fact.

He has applied to the local council to have the section of street outside his business turned into a loading bay.

Today's top stories

  • DUP repeat calls for PSNI chief Simon Byrne to resign as Policing Board meets
  • Northern Ireland Water confirms supply issues across Belfast and north
  • Clonmel crash victim's mother pays emotional tribute to her ‘beautiful angel'

When his initial appeal against the PCN was rejected, Mr Donnelly said: "They refused my online appeal saying there were no grounds for it."

With the deadline for a 50% discount about to expire, he reluctantly paid £45 of the total fine amount on Tuesday.

"To ticket a normal car is fine, but to ticket a hearse is disgraceful," he added.

"It's also disgraceful that the department, despite acknowledging that leeway should be given, rejected my appeal."

A DfI spokesperson acknowledged guidance should be in place for traffic wardens to follow in such sensitive situations and said there would be a review to identify any lessons that can be learned.

But Mr Donnelly completely denied claims from the department that the warden had tried to find the hearse owner first before issuing the ticket. "I was inside the premises which has a massive sign saying 'funeral directors' and the door didn’t knock once," he said.

The DfI spokesperson explained that changes to existing parking restrictions on any street would require a full public consultation process and amendments to current legislation.

Mr Donnelly can legally park on George's Street for up to one hour and said: "I can’t jump up and leave grieving families every time the hour is up just to move the hearse. This lacks compassion and understanding."