Northern Ireland

Council to rethink baby grave memorial design

Agnes Close
Image caption Agnes Close, whose baby is buried in the grave, said the proposed memorial would have been 'totally unsuitable'

Belfast City Council has agreed to rethink the design of a permanent memorial to remember babies buried in an unmarked grave in Belfast.

Almost 8,000 babies who died shortly after birth or were stillborn between 1945 and 1996 are buried at the City Cemetery plot.

A piece of art commissioned by Belfast City Council was thought to be unsuitable by their families.

Parents expressed concerns at a public consultation on Tuesday night.

'There has to be a baby'

One woman, Agnes Close, told BBC News NI the proposed memorial - a rock, with a Bonsai tree - was "totally unsuitable".

"It had to be explained: The memorial should be self-explanatory," said Ms Close, whose son was buried in the plot having died shortly after his birth in 1973.

Image caption Some of the group who attended the public consultation on Tuesday evening

"At that time the families didn't have a say - he was just taken away and I didn't see him once he died."

"We've always said people walking past the memorial should know what it is," she said.

"It was an art piece, It wasn't representative of the babies.

"I would like people know this is the resting place of so many babies, so there has to be a baby in it."

The council has now said it will rethink the memorial design and explore other options.

The group of parents was very pleased with the outcome of the meeting, Ms Close told BBC News NI.