Scotland: Family says Government report doesn't go far enough to prevent another tragedy

Scotland's "The Herald" reports the family of a child killed by a falling gravestone have criticised a government report on safety in cemeteries and called it a 'box ticking exercise'. Ciaran Williamson's father and grandmother say the new guidelines published this month do not go far enough to ensure a similar tragedy won't happen again.Ciaran, 8, died when a 7ft headstone fell on him in Craigton cemetery, Glasgow, in May 2015, severing his spinal cord and killing him instantly.

Ryan Williamson and Margaret Aitken believe the Scottish Government's report gives local authorities, who are responsible for burial ground maintenance, the same opportunities as before the tragedy to ignore inspection and maintenance regimes if they are short of cash or resources.

They also say the guidelines are just a repetition of existing standards, such as those published by the National association of Memorial Masons (NAMM), the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management (ICCM) and the UK Government.

In Scotland, 32 councils have responsibility for more than 2,200 cemeteries, and hundreds of thousands of gravestones. The Fatal Accident inquiry into Ciaran's death heard that one of the reasons a proper inspection regime wasn't in place in Glasgow was due to a lack of resources.

The inquiry heard that an employee raised concerns about the issue in 2013, but no action was taken. It was reported last year that a number of councils still did not have a programme of inspection in place and some were relying on members of the public or ad-hoc inspections to identify any safety concerns.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Our thoughts remain with the family of Ciaran Williamson. The Scottish Government is confident that the comprehensive guidance on memorial safety, will bring about positive and effective change and improvements on memorial safety, assisting local authorities with their statutory responsibility under the Health and Safety at Work Act.”

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