People in Kerry are storing the ashes of loved ones on shelves and in cupboards because none of the county's 154 public cemeteries have facilities for the interment of ashes.

Since 2017 undertakers have reported a growing trend for cremation in the county.

However the "urgent need" for Columbarium Walls, which are used to inter ashes, in Kerry cemeteries has still not been met, a meeting was told.

The county's newest graveyard, the multi-faith and non-denominational Killarney Cemetery still has no Columbarium Wall despite this being "a key element" of the original plans, the meeting heard. 

Independent Councillor Brendan Cronin raised the issue at a recent meeting of Kerry County Council, saying "the ashes of deceased relatives are in presses and cupboards because there is no where to put them".

A Columbarium Wall had been a key element of the difficult graveyard project in Killarney which eventually opened in 2018.

Labour Councillor Marie Moloney questioned what the delay was in providing the Columbarium Wall in Killarney, saying "a lot of people are happy to keep the ashes in their homes, but others are not"

A Director of Services with Kerry County Council said loan funding for the development of Columbarium Walls in both Tralee and Killarney had been approved.

The design and tender for Killarney was being "progressed" and the tender advertised by the end of January, John Breen said.

"As this is the first development of its kind in the county, appropriate consideration had to be given to its design, layout and setting," Mr Breen said.

Meanwhile Galway County Council are piloting a unique project in the graveyard at   Renville, Oranmore which will allow families to inter loved ones remains in a new style memorial called an Urn Tower Memorial Vault.

As in other counties most graveyards in Co Galway do not facilitate ash-only internments. 

The urn tower vaults, designed and manufactured by a Kildare-based company Urn Towers Ltd, allows for the ashes of the deceased to be placed inside a labeled vertical vault which can be extended to hold the urns of more family members.

While some faiths do not allow cremation – Orthodox Judaism and Islam - all Christian denominations and most other religious sects around the world do.

Recognising the growing preference for cremation, Pope Francis in 2016 approved a directive that ashes of those baptised Catholic should be placed on consecrated cemeteries rather than scattered or kept at home.