A SKERRIES man has spoken about his “disgust” at Fingal County Council's “cold and horrible” treatment of his family in the dogged pursuit of fees for the opening of a grave.
Adrian Kavanagh has condemned the council's behavior and said his elderly mother endured sleepless nights after the local authority sent a threatening letter to the family in pursuit of a debt arising from Kavanagh’s father's funeral.
The debt was owed to the council by the undertaker who presided over the funeral and had already been paid by the family, but having failed to collect the debt from the undertaker, the council pursued the innocent bereaved family.
It was days away from the first anniversary of the death of Frank Kavanagh when the letter from the council arrived at the home of his widow, Derry Kavanagh.
To add insult to injury, the letter was addressed to a “Mr. Kavanagh.” The letter said that fees in respect of a burial at Ardla Cemetery had not been paid, and said that if the family had already paid the fees to the undertaker, it should contact the funeral directors to “ensure that payment is made to Fingal County Council.”
Adrian Kavanagh said that the letter threatened consequences for the family if the fees were not received by the council, including barring further family burials in the plot and preventing a headstone being erected to his dead father.
“My mother was very upset by it. She didn't sleep for days and she was terrified she would not be able to be buried there or if we put up a headstone that Fingal County Council would come along and tear it down,” he said.
Kavanagh said the family had decided to speak out because they want the practice to end, and for no other bereaved family to be put through the same trauma.
He said that his mother had been put through a “harrowing” experience and condemned the council's behavior as “cold and horrible.”
He said the family had done everything right and paid their bills and that the dispute should have remained between the council and the undertaker.