A COMBER woman has strongly criticised Ards and North Down Council after workmen caused her father’s grave to collapse for the second time.

    Adrienne Rose said she felt ‘disheartened and disappointed’ when she recently visited her father’s grave at Loughview Cemetery in Comber and found it in a state of disrepair.

    The 35 year-old midwife explained that the plot adjoining her father’s grave had been opened for interment by council workers, which she believes led to the grave subsiding and caving in.

    Adrienne was not informed by the council that this had occurred and was ‘shocked’ and ‘upset’ to find it in such a condition.

    She added that this was the second time this has happened to her father’s grave after an interment at the same adjoining plot, and she accused the council of being ‘negligent’ in carrying out such sensitive work.

    “My dad died in August 2018 and when I paid for the grave I asked for it to be up the hill a bit as it can get a bit boggy, so I got a plot half way up the hill thinking that would be a bit easier,” Adrienne recalled.

    The first incident occurred in August 2020. The damage was so bad, Adrienne thought it had been dug out, but on approaching she realised the adjoining plot to the right had been opened and her father’s grave had collapsed.

    The council repaired the damage but Adrienne said it was ‘extremely badly done’ leaving her mum and uncle to do their own repairs.

    On discovering her father’s grave had once again collapsed and left to look like it had been dug up again, Adrienne said she was ‘utterly appalled and disgusted’ to once again receive no communication from the council.

    She added that maintenance vehicles had left muddy and deep track marks through the cemetery.

    “It feels like they just can’t be bothered,” Adrienne said. “It’s just a job to them.”

    She continued: “They aren’t realising how much of an impact it has on people and that a graveyard is a sanctuary for so many people.

    “I think they should have used steel sheets, knowing that this has already happened once before when opening the grave beside it. I feel like they aren’t taking any responsibility for it.”

    “The grave cost and opening was not a small amount and the disrespect and clear ignorance is insurmountable,” Adrienne added.

    A council spokesman stated during a recent excavation of the neighbouring plot, an area of the surface ground caved in which resulted in Mr Briggs’ grave plot having to be levelled with soil.

    “When carrying out an excavation every effort is made to avoid disturbing neighbouring plots, however due to ground conditions cave-ins do occasionally happen,” said the spokesman.

    “Council would like to apologise for any upset this has caused the Briggs family.

    “The team have been onsite in Loughview this week to tidy this grave and surrounding area and as soon as the grave has had time to settle, it will be top soiled and seeded to reinstate it to its previous condition.”