Mayo Co Council plans to adopt a policy on roadside memorials following the controversial decision to remove a memorial to murder victim Joe Deacy.
The 21-year old was found with head injuries in a driveway of a house at Gortnasillagh, near Bohola, in the early hours of August 12, 2017. He was taken to Beaumont Hospital where he died the next day. Mr Deacy was from St Albans in England but had been in Ireland visiting relatives and friends. The investigation into the young man’s death is ongoing.
His family said the memorial was erected on January 4 last and was removed by Mayo Co Council on January 17. Family members were present at a meeting of the council’s Roads and Transport Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) where the issue of graveside memorials was on the agenda.
Tom Gilligan, Director of Services with Mayo Co Council, extended his condolences to the Deacy family.
“I can’t even begin to imagine the loss and hurt,” he stated.
Mr Gilligan said Mr Deacy’s death was not a roadside fatality and stated that the family were contacted prior to the removal of the memorial. He said an alternative location was offered. Mr Gilligan said the decision to remove the memorial was taken following a number of complaints and the move was made in the interests of safety.
The Deacy family have met privately with council officials.
Meanwhile, a draft roadside memorial policy came before members of the strategic policy committee on Wednesday last and will be presented at the next meeting of the local authority. The council said the purpose of the policy is to try and provide a clear statement of what will be allowed on carriageways under the council’s control.
The local authority stated that all applications for roadside memorials will be dealt with in a sympathetic, understanding and sensitive way, and where and when appropriate, staff will liaise directly with those wishing to place memorials. The policy states that applications for roadside memorials must be submitted to the Roads Department of Mayo Co Council, with accompanying permission of the landowner and next of kin as well as a sketch and map of the location and layout. Height and size restrictions will apply.