Ulster Unionist Councillor, Julie Flaherty, has received an assurance from the Department for Communities that any incoming Minister will have the introduction of the Children’s Funeral Fund presented to them for their consideration.
The scheme has been implemented in England, following the intervention of the Prime Minister, Theresa May. Under the scheme parents will no longer have to meet the costs of burials and cremations. Instead, these fees will be met by government funding.
Councillor Flaherty said:
“Having lost my own son, Jake at two years and two months old in 2013, I know from bitter experience how a gesture such as central government covering the costs of burial or cremation could mean a lot.
“I brought the proposal forward to my own council, Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, that we waive the cost of opening a grave for those under 18-years-old as a gesture of goodwill towards their families. I know that in the absence of an Executive implementing the Fund as is in place in England at this time is unlikely to be achieved. However, I felt strongly that local government institutions should do all we can in the interim to help ease the burden on grieving families.
“I am delighted that my campaign has led to a commitment being given by the Permanent Secretary of the Department for Communities that the introduction of a scheme similar to the Children’s Funeral Fund will be presented for consideration by incoming Ministers. I am glad that this important issue will be on the desk of the next Minister and I will be one of the first knocking on their door to make sure that this important goodwill gesture is offered to families in Northern Ireland.”